A group of high-mark Kuwaiti students, dispatched by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), has toured ancient landmarks of this tourist city, namely old mosques and relics dating back to the 1299-1923 Ottoman empire.
The students, during the first day of the programmed tour, visited Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet in 1616. Student Faisal Al-Rakaf expressed in remarks to KUNA his deep admiration of the unique mosque.
They also inspected Hagia Sophia, which was originally a church, transformed into a mosque and later into a museum. The landmark is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica. It had served as the seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but between 1204 and 1261, it was converted into a Roman Catholic cathedral under Latin empire. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931 when it was "secularized." Hagia Sophia is situated opposite the Blue Mosque, an eye-catching site symbolizing the country's rich history civilization, Moreover, the two buildings bear memories of conflict of civilizations in the past, namely between Islam and Christianity.
Student Hussein Ali said he was impressed with the solid construction of Hagia Sophia, a, ancient site that inspires the mind and imagination.
Another key tourist attraction toured by the students was the Palace of Sultans, also known as Topkabi, a large palace that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years (1465-1856) of their 624-year reign. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a major tourist attraction and contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammed's cloak and sword. The Topkapi Palace is among the monuments contained within the "Historic Areas of Istanbul", which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
"This is the first time in my life I examine priceless relics," said student Abdullah Al-Rashidi who also voiced satisfaction for enriching his knowledge of the Islamic civilization.
The students expressed deep appreciation to KFAED for granting them the chance to visit Turkey and explore its marvels.