A snow storm in Istanbul has grounded planes, halted traffic, and forced the closure of key shipping channel the Bosphorus Strait. Turkish Airlines has cancelled more than 300 flights.

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A tourist sits under a palm tree on the snow-covered Sultanahmet Square in the historic old town in IstanbulMurad Sezer/Reuters
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Pigeons fly over a snow-covered square near Istanbul UniversityOzan Kose/AFP
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Bulent Kilic/AFP

Commuters in the city of 15 million people had to walk to work after as much as 60cm (24in) of snow fell in two days in parts of Istanbul.

The storm also stranded members of the Besiktas football team at the airport. The Istanbul side is scheduled to play Liverpool in England on Thursday (19 February).

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Traffic comes to a standstill as the snow falls in IstanbulMurad Sezer/Reuters
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People brave the cold and snow as they walk along the main pedestrian street of Istiklal in IstanbulMurad Sezer/Reuters
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Bulent Kilic/AFP

The Bosphorus strait, which divides Istanbul into Asian and European districts, was shut in both directions. At least 13 ships were waiting to enter the strait at both ends and are now scheduled to make the voyage on Thursday.

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Ozan Kose/AFP
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A man fishes on the Galata bridge in Istanbul as the snow fallsOzan Kose/AFP
Snow Istanbul
Bulent Kilic/AFP

Residents of Istanbul woke up to find the famed minarets and domes of the historic city's skyline covered in snow.

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A view from the Galata tower shows roofs covered with snow in IstanbulBulent Kilic/AFP
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People look out at the snow-covered Istanbul from the Galata towerBulent Kilic/AFP
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Syrian refugees walk along a snow-covered street in IstanbulOzan Kose/AFP
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A Syrian refugee child walks through the snow in IstanbulOzan Kose/AFP
Snow Istanbul
Ozan Kose/AFP