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Istanbul's Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia squares to be pedestrianized

Istanbul - Dogan News Agency | 6/2/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia squares will be permanently closed to traffic starting June 7.

The Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia squares will be permanently closed to traffic starting June 7, according to a decision taken by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

The streets surrounding the two squares will also be closed to traffic. Large parking lots will be established in the old neighborhood around the Blue Mosque for tour buses and other private cars. Small shuttles will carry visitors from the parking lots to the pedestrian streets.

The only vehicles allowed to drive through the squares will be official and diplomatic cars as well as emergency response and post office vehicles, though they will not be allowed to park in the squares. Tour buses will be allowed to stop only at certain points yet to be defined by the municipality and allowed to park only in designated areas.

Regarding freight vehicles for surrounding businesses, traffic will be allowed only between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the summer and between 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the winter.

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