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Istanbul Travel Guide

‘If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul’ – Alphonse de Lamartine

Mosaics, mosques, minarets, museums and many more memories of Istanbul's dalliance with history brings thousands of tourists every year to its shores. 2000 years of being capital to Christian and Islamic empires and retaining impressions of both, Istanbul is a confusing city. This is not a breeze-in and out destination - you might as well take time when you are here. It’s best to stock up on the info before you get going so as to at least be able to tell the difference between a hamam (turkish bath) and an imam (muslim priest).

Istanbul sits between Asia and Europe and is a bit of both. Impressions of the West and East, past and present, riches and rags are tough to tell apart when you have completed this mad whirl (heard about dervishes?). The old city is built around Sultanahmet and a couple of kilometers away is the European quarter of Beyoglu. But its not quite so straitlaced - veiled women suddenly give way to populated pubs while your guide is giving you his spiel on the Aya Sofya!

Istanbul is the only city in the world which straddles two continent-Asia and Europe.

The city was found on seven hills, just like Rome.

Grand Bazaar is the oldest and biggest covered bazaar in the world, with more than 4000 shops!

Agatha Christie wrote ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ at Pera Palas Hotel.

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