Grades 7+

The city of Istanbul and the country of Turkey straddle two continents.

Under the lands of Turkey, Europe and Asia meet in embrace. Ingredients from East and West come together in a harmonious mix. This unique geographical location has allowed Turkey to develop a culture rich in both Eastern and Western influences. This can be seen today in Turkey’s culture and architecture.


Having a country on two continents gives Turkey a significa

nt advantage. It allows the country to benefit from the resources and cultures of both continents, making it a desirable place for business, tourism, and travel. It also allows for an increased level of intercontinental trade and investment.

The Bosporus Strait acts as a bridge between these two distinct worlds. A narrow, winding waterway 19 miles long, the Bosporus connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and separates the two continents of Europe and Asia.



At the southern end of the Bosphorus, in the center of Istanbul, the bright blue waters provide a stunning backdrop for an ancient structure with distinctive Byzantine architecture. The domes and minarets stand silhouetted against the sky. This is Hagia Sophia.

First built on the ruins of a pagan temple, Hagia Sophia was commissioned by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in 537 A.D. to be a Christian basilica. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Turks converted into a mosque in 1453. They added four minarets to emphasize its Islamic conversion.

The building is immense structure. Marble columns and a vast main dome reach up 32 meters (105 feet). The exterior of Hagia Sophia is adorned with impressive Byzantine mosaics and ornate decorations. The interior features a mixture of Islamic and Christian decorative elements. The central nave is filled with light thanks to its massive windows, while the walls are decorated with beautiful geometric and floral Islamic designs.

Turkey Activity 1

    1. How many conjunctions does the introductory section have?
    2. How many does “Culture” have?
    3. How many does “Architecture” have?
    4. There is one lesser conjunction in the essay. What is it?