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The tradition of breaking the daily fast at sunset during Ramadan turns Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district into a festival, reports the Hurriyet Daily News.

And the tradition is continuing this year, reports staffer Çagla Pinar Tunel, who describes “thousands of people flocking to the area and bringing their own food.

“Monday night, on the first day of Ramadan, many locals and tourists had their dinner together,” writes Tunel in Istanbul’s English-language edition. “Unable to find any spots on the grass, many people broke their fast on the benches of the park and had their dinners facing the famous Hagia Sophia.

Istanbul residents and tourists flocked to the city’s historical peninsula for the end of the first day of Ramadan, enjoying a spectacular atmosphere created by the mosques and the lighting.

“Every year, I come here to break my fast. Last year I prepared sandwiches because I was alone, but this year I prepared food with a relative,” said Istanbul resident Suna Kan, adding that living conditions in Istanbul unfortunately prevented people from preparing traditional, big dinners at home with family.

Large numbers of people came to the Sultanahmet area again Monday despite a decision to move official festivities to nearby Beyazıt due to concerns that tourists would feel uncomfortable and that the old city’s historical artifacts could be harmed by the Ramadan crowds.

Anna Tobbinhouse, however, said she did not feel uncomfortable as people were fasting and meeting the requirements of their religion. “London where I came from is a multi-religious city; people are respectful to each other.”

Francisco Hidalgo, from Spain, was unable to hide his amazement at seeing people waiting to for the call to prayer to break their fast and said he was impressed by their comment and dedication. “I could never do that [fast for so long].”

While street vendors sold “gözleme,” a Turkish-style pancake, or corn, others in traditional clothing sold Mesir paste, a type of Ottoman candy, to customers waiting to break the fast.

“Some tourists who brought alcohol and potato chips to the area probably thought people could drink alcohol during the fest,” said Kan.

That’s actually forbidden year-round, but Turkey is used to being tolerant of its tourists.

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