Istanbul (previously Constantinople) is the largest city in Turkey with a population of almost 14 million people. Turkey is a place to which the phrase "East meets West" really applies, and that's especially true of Istanbul, where the continents of Europe and Asia come together, separated only by the Bosporus. On the vibrant streets of Istanbul, miniskirts and trendy boots mingle with head scarves and prayer beads.


Istanbul has many attractions for visitors, especially those interested in history and religion. The ancient city is a layering of civilization on civilization, empire built on empire. It's been called as momentous as Rome, as captivating as Paris, and as exotic and chaotic as Bangkok. As a major religious center (it has been the heart of the Greek Orthodox Church as well as the Islamic faith for centuries), Istanbul is the custodian of one of the world's most important cultural heritages and home to some of the world's most opulent displays o art and wealth, most of which were built in the name of faith.

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