Suleyman Mosque

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Khoja Mimar Sinan Aga, 1498–1588

Istanbul, Turkey; 1551–58

In 1453, at the age of 21, Mehmed the Conqueror took control of Constantinople after a siege and turned the greatest church in Christendom into a mosque. The city was still an amazing place, even though its store of antiquities and holy relics had been savagely depleted between 1204 and 1261, when the city was treated like a gold mine by its Crusader rulers. The head of John the Baptist went to Amiens, where the cathedral developed into one of the largest and most beautifully decorated anywhere. The crown of thorns was sold to Louis IX of France, who built the jewel-like ...

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