Istanbul's 2 principal monuments
face each other across an area of gardens
known informally as Sultanahmet Square.
This part of the city gets its name from Sutan Ahmret I,
who built the Blue Mosque.
Opposite is Haghia Sophia,
an outstanding example of early Byzantine architecture,
and still one of the world's most remarkable churches.
A neat oblong square next to the Blue Mosque
marks the site of the Hippodrome,
a chariot-racing stadium built by
the Romans in around AD 200.
On the other side of the Blue Mosque,
Sultanahmet slopes down to the Sea of Marmara
in a jumble of alleyways.
Here traditional-style Ottoman wooden houses
have been built over the remains of
the Great Palace of the Byzantine emperors.
Nearby the hotel the houses are not all in a good shape,
but the atmosphere there was very pleasant