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Istanbul Travel Guide


Istanbul Introduction


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For the better part of two millennia, Istanbul, Turkey, has been one of the greatest cities in the world, and it remains one of the most vibrant and magical places in Europe and the Middle East. It is not the capital of Turkey—that honor was bestowed on Ankara in the 1920s—but Istanbul is the country's largest city, its main commercial, historical and cultural center and the heart of its tourism industry.  Click here to see the full Istanbul travel guide on Travel42 »

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Istanbul Geography


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The Bosporus Strait divides the city into two sections, one in Europe and one in Asia. The European side of Istanbul is divided again by the Golden Horn, a 4-mi/7-km inlet from the sea that is spanned by four bridges, including one metro bridge and one with tram and pedestrian access.  Click here to see the full Istanbul travel guide on Travel42 »

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Istanbul History


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The city's roots can be traced to the mid-seventh century BC when, according to legend, a Greek explorer named Byzas was told by the Oracle at Delphi to sail up the Bosporus and found a city. The city-state of Byzantium was the result, and throughout the next 1,000 years, it became an important center of trade and commerce. In the early fourth century, Emperor Constantine made it the new capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, renaming it Constantinople. Like Rome, the new capital was built on seven hills, but unlike Rome, Constantinople was protected by water on two sides, making it easier to defend.   Click here to see the full Istanbul travel guide on Travel42 »

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Istanbul Sightseeing & Things to Do


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Exploring all of the city's vast offerings could take many days, if not weeks, so it's best to be selective. Fortunately, many of Istanbul's best sights are grouped near one another.   Click here to see the full Istanbul travel guide on Travel42 »

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Istanbul Nightlife


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When it comes to nightlife, things tend to get going fairly late in Istanbul. Many bars don't fill up until midnight, and a lot of patrons stay well past 3 am. Beyoglu is the liveliest district in town, with a wide range of bars, dance clubs and other hangouts. Unaccompanied men will find that some bars have security at the door that will not let them in. Unaccompanied women, however, have carte blanche everywhere—though they may also be subjected to unwanted attention.   Click here to see the full Istanbul travel guide on Travel42 »

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Istanbul Restaurants & Dining


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Though it may not be Turkey's political capital, Istanbul beats Ankara hands down when it comes to dining choices, with restaurants dishing up samples of the best cuisine from all four corners of the country, if you know where to look. All around town are kebab houses and informal lokantas that serve popular local dishes such as kofte (grilled lamb meatballs), pide (a slab of thin dough covered with various ingredients including cheese and salami) and home-style soups, stuffed vegetables and stews. A traditional favorite is lahmacun—minced meat, onions and tomato sauce baked on paper-thin bread.  Click here to see the full Istanbul travel guide on Travel42 »

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