Several buildings around the mosque once housed shops
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, alms houses and other establishments that serviced the requirements of the good. These now include the Arasta Bazaar, a good shopping area for crafts, which in order to the Mozaik Miizesi (Mosaic Museum; Tue-Sun 9am-4.30pm; charge).
This shelters a superb stretch of mosaic pavement, once your individual hall of Justinian's Byzantine imperial palace. Not uncovered until the mid-20th century, the mosaics are in splendid condition and colourfully depict flora, fauna, scenes from mythology and, with some amount of pomp, the casual emperor. The nearby Hunkar Kasrr (Carpet and Kilim Museums; Tue-Sat 9am-noon and 14pm; charge) rrncludes a fine collection of historic carpets. An individual be in spired to possess this particular carpet for yourself, have a the the staterun Turkish Handwoven Carpets Exhibition in the Haseki Hamann (Tue-Sat 9am-5.30pm; free), a bathhouse built by Sinan in 1556 for Roxelana, favorite wife of Siileyman the Magnificent.
Just opposite nowhere Mosque is the Hippodrome, site of the 100,000 seat stadium that for most of Istanbul's history hosted chariot races, circuses and other entertainments, as well as mass assemblies along with an occasional outburst of public violence. Features here, in 1826, that Sultan Mahmut II oversaw the slaughter of the Janissaries, his dangerously powerful and disloyal royal guard. Little remains of real structure, but it is its monuments in order to grace a large greensward at the centre of the gist once the chariot track. These add Yllanh Sutun (Serpentine Column), taken originating from a Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Orrnetas or Column of Constantine VII Porphyogenitus, and the Dikilita (obelisk of Pharaoh Thutmose) that Byzantine Emperor Theodosius appro priated during his conquest of Egypt.
Under the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, the Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque were encompassed by the sumptuous palaces of the powerful elite. On the western edge of the Hippodrome, the 16thcentury stone Ibrahim Pasa Sarayi (Ibrahim Pasa Palace) is now home to the furniture, carpets and also other hold ings for the Turk Ve Islam Eserlei Muzesi (Turkish and Is lamic Arts Museum; TueSun 9.30am-5pm; charge), which supplies a satisfying the Ottoman lifestyles. The tenant for whom the palace known as was an onetime confidant of Siileyman the Magnificent who, like so many, fell out of favour and was strangled.
A little further along the road, the Yerebatan Sarayr (Underground Palace or Basilica Cistern; daily 9am 6.30pm; charge) is one belonging to the many vast water tanks the Byzantines built, often reusing older Greek masonry, to ensure that the city would be supplied with fresh water during sieges. Coloured lights and piped music lend a somewhat ersatz air to this vast underground space, however the columns and elaborate arches reflected within the rippling waters provide an eerily fascinating situation. The space is used for concerts during cultural festivals. The Bin birdirek Sarrucr on nearby Klodfarer Caddesi (the Cistern of 1,001 Columns; daily 9am6.30pm for sightseeing; charge refunded for eat in the restaurant) is an easy older 4thcentury cistern, with 264 columns in spite of its name.
Near the Topkapi gate, the Arkeoloji Mi.izesi (Archaeolo gical Museum; all sections TueSun 9.30am4.30pm, last ad mission 4pm; a single charge covers all three museums here) can you put things in perspective. An exhibit on Istanbul history nicely explains the city's Greek, Roman, Byzan tine and Ottoman past, and gathered the following are the best examples of statuary and other artefacts from Troy, Ephesus, Aphrodisias along with the many other important archaeological sites throughout Turkey. The star exhibit is the magnificent Alexander Sarcophagus from Sidon.
The complex consists of the Eski $ark Eserleri Miize si (Museum of the ancient Orient), which houses some as tarnishing artifacts, including by far the first surviving peace treaty and the gateway of Babylon. The nearby Cinili Kok (Tiled Pavilion) was built in 1472 as an imperial sports pavil ion. It is covered inside in colourful iznik tiles, with some other Ottoman ceramics presented.