Istanbul's Blue Mosque, being patrolled by anti-riot police, was under snow on Sunday © AFP

A deep freeze gripped Europe on Sunday as blizzards and dangerously low temperatures cloaked the continent.

The extreme winter weather led to many deaths, with migrants suffering from hypothermia as they slept rough across southern Europe.

More used to dazzling in the sunshine, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque (pictured) was covered in snow. Turkish ferry and plane services were halted and one of the main highways in Istanbul ground to a halt after drivers deserted their cars on Friday night to walk home.

Normally known for its winter sun, Greece experienced temperatures as low as minus 15C in the north and several Greek islands, inlcuding Skopelos and Lesbos, were blanketed in snow and ice.

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