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    Istanbul Archaeology MuseumIstanbul Archaeology Museum Istanbul, Turkey
    The Istanbul Archaeology Museums are so incredible that they had to use three different sites to house it all, that is located in the Eminonu district of Istanbul, Turkey, near Gulhane Park and Topkapi Palace. These three include the archaeological museum in the main building, with the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art, in the tiled kiosk. This fabulous museum complex houses more than a million artifacts that represent just about every area of time and civilizations that are part of our world history. The museum of the ancient orient had been commissioned by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1883 as a fine arts school, and then later converted to a museum that opened in 1935, while the tiled kiosk was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed II in 1472, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city that features Ottoman civil architecture and had been part of the outer gardens of the Topkapi Palace. Some of the most spectacular artifacts in the world can be viewed here and include the elaborate Alexander sarcophagus, that had been prepared for Alexander the Great, is probably one of the most famous relics, with the Kadesh Peace Treaty of 1258 BC that was signed by Ramesses II of Egypt and Hattusili III of the Hittite Empire is another favorite of visitors, as well as being the oldest known peace treaty in the world; with a huge poster of these tablets on the wall of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Other relics in this fabulous collection include the sarcophagus of the Crying women that was discovered in Sidon along with the sarcophagus of Alexander, the sarcophagi of Tabnit and Satrap, the Lycian tomb, Siloam inscription, statue of an Ephebos, glazed tile images from the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, busts of Alexander the Great and Zeus, obelisk of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari III, the Troy exhibit, 800,000 Ottoman coins, decorations, medals and seals, relics from the early civilizations of Anatolia, Arabia, Egypt and Mesopotamia, and much more.

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    Basilica CisternBasilica Cistern Istanbul, Turkey
    The Basilica Cistern is known in Turkish as the Sunken Palace or Sunken Cistern and is the biggest of many hundreds of ancient cisterns located below the city of Istanbul, Turkey that used to be called Constantinople and is sitting 500 southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Saraburnu that was constructed in the 6th century AD during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Historical texts that have been uncovered claim that some 7000 slaves were used to construct the cistern that provided a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other structures located on the First Hill, and continued to provide water to the Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest of 1453. The huge cathedral sized cistern covers some 453 feet by 212 feet, or about 105,000 square feet in circumference, that could have held up to 2.8 million gallons of water. The ceiling is supported by an amazing 336 marble columns, each one reaching 30 feet high, arrayed in 12 rows of 28 columns spaced 16 feet apart. One of these columns was engraved with a Hen's eye, slanted braches and tears. There are 52 stone steps that descend into the entrance of the cistern, which is surrounded by a firebrick wall that is 13 feet thick and coated with waterproofing mortar, with the water coming here from the Belgrade Forest that is about 12 miles north of the city. The cistern would be opened to the public until 1987. In the northwest corner of the cistern, two bases of the columns reused the blocks carved with images of Medusa. The origins of the heads in not known, but they were brought to the cistern after being taken from a building during the late Roman period, with no evidence that they had been used as a base for the columns, but that they would be turned sideways and inverted to negate the power of the Gorgon's gaze.

January 14, 2014