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By Rosie Ayliffe, Rose Baring, Barnaby Rogerson, Canan Sılay

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Extra resources for Istanbul (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

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Christmas (late December). Though Christmas Day is not a public holiday, major hotels organize seasonal festivities. New Y Year’s Day (1 January). Public holiday incorporating European Christmas traditions including eating turkey, decorating trees and partying. Strings of lights adorn the main roads. Karadam Ski Festival (second half of February), Uludağ Mountain. Competitions organized by local radio stations and the Uludağ Ski Instructors’ Association. MUSLIM HOLIDAY A S The dates of Muslim holidays vary according to the phases of the moon and therefore change from year to year.

Imperial Hall The largest room in the Harem, this hall was used for entertainments. Against one wall stands a large throne, from which the sultan would view the proceedings. T O P K A P I P A L A C E LIFE IN THE HAREM The women of the Harem were slaves, gathered from the furthest corners of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. Their dream was to become a favourite of the sultan (see p28) and bear him a son, which on some occasions led to marriage. Competition was stiff, however, for at its height the Harem contained over 1,000 concubines, many of whom never rose beyond the service of their fellow captives.

23 April) A . Public holiday marking the inauguration of the Turkish Republic in 1923 (see pp30–31). Children take to the streets in folk costume. Commemoration of the Anzac Landings (25 April), Gallipoli. Britons, Australians and New Zealanders gather at the location of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli during World War I (see pp170–71). International Istanbul Theatre Festival (May–June), various venues. European and Turkish productions. Conquest of Istanbul (29 May), between Tophane and Karaköy and on the shores of the upper Bosphorus.

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