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Byzantium Holdover

Among Istanbul's great historical relics, the Valens Aqueduct dates from the 4th century A.D., when the Roman Emperor Valens oversaw its completion to supply water to what was then called Byzantium. Originally perhaps some 3,280 feet long, the aqueduct can still be appreciated in the surviving portion over Atatürk Boulevard in Fatih. The fact that the still-striking structure remains is partly a testament to its upkeep across many centuries by succeeding powers: the Byzantines and then the Ottomans. The Valens Aqueduct is one of many symbols of the palimpsest quality of Istanbul: a city defined more spectacularly than most by layers and layers and layers of history.

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