http://www.tourvideos.com/ More properly called Sultanahmet Mosque, the Blue Mosque is named for the blue ceramic tiles covering much of the interior. Like Hagia Sophia and the other large Islamic mosques in Istanbul, the interior is breathtakingly vast: the high ceiling is a cascade of spheres, starting with the large dome suspended 135 feet above the ground, surrounded by four smaller semi-domes, which are flanked in turn by smaller cupolas and round turrets that create a magical expansive sensation. There are 260 windows that provide rich lighting to brighten the large space and highlight the intricate geometric patterns and calligraphy on the blue "faience" tiles.
The oldest major site in town is the Hippodrome, located in a broad esplanade alongside the Blue Mosque. This had been a racetrack and arena that could seat 100,000 spectators, built in the 2nd and 3rd centuries by the Romans. It was the site of important public events, including executions, protests, massacres, imperial coronations, and frequent athletic competitions whose outcomes sometimes had such great political impact they could even cost an emperor his throne. Chariot races were a favorite sport, commemorated by four bronze horses, which were stolen by the Venetians in their attack of 1204 and are now in St. Mark's Basilica in Venice.
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