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Overview

The city of dreams, desires, intrigue and harems, Istanbul boasts the most stunning monument to the progress of Christianity in the east but, immediately opposite, the Blue Mosque is the most sacred of Islamic landmarks. Ottoman Istanbul was the center of the Islamic faith but derived its power and glory from ethnic and religious diversity. Today one finds mosques, churches, synagogues, bazaars, palaces, underground cisterns, and remarkable heirlooms of the past. But past glory still sits well with Istanbul's contemporary spirit and spontaneity. This is a party city where the music and festive beat is incessant. An exciting art scene, ...

The city of dreams, desires, intrigue and harems, Istanbul boasts the most stunning monument to the progress of Christianity in the east but, immediately opposite, the Blue Mosque is the most sacred of Islamic landmarks. Ottoman Istanbul was the center of the Islamic faith but derived its power and glory from ethnic and religious diversity. Today one finds mosques, churches, synagogues, bazaars, palaces, underground cisterns, and remarkable heirlooms of the past. But past glory still sits well with Istanbul's contemporary spirit and spontaneity. This is a party city where the music and festive beat is incessant. An exciting art scene, creative cuisine, award-winning shopping malls, and the city's energetic youth redefine urban synergy. Proximity to Europe brings dedicated clubbers and shoppers for a weekend gala.

Istanbul tops many Euro-agendas and is a city to experience before you die. It's slick and clean and its amazing transport system is an underrated urban attribute. Istanbul was the European Culture Capital in 2010, entirely in step with its impetuous ambiance.

Suzanne Swan
About the Expert

Suzanne Swan is the main author of DK's Eyewitness Travel Guide Turkey. She updated and wrote original material for DK's Eyewitness Travel Guide Istanbul.

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Suzanne Swan for Triporati

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Now Happening in Istanbul

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Turkey's most populous city and cultural financial center in Europe.
  • Language: Turkish, English
  • Currency: New Turkish Lira
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Istanbul is a city for all seasons, but May to October avoids extremes of weather.