Istanbul Where to Stay
Straddling the straits of the Bosphorous between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea, between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is truly a city of contrasts... old and new; traditional and modern; Europe and Asia; East and West. It is a city where old traditional wooden houses stand next to iconic 21st century buildings; where the muezzin sounds five times a day as a call to prayer and where you can enjoy great bars, clubs and nightlife. Add of course there is the delicious Turkish cuisine - mezes, kebabs, fish and raki which sit side by side with more familiar western fare and the obligatory fast food outlets. Its long and rich history is connected with this strategic position and the interest of rulers to conquer Istanbul.
Istanbul is divided into its constituent parts by three large bodies of water - the Marmara sea, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. The European part of the city is divided by the Golden Horn into the Old City (Sultanahmet and the Grand Bazaar area) and the New City (the Taksim area, Besiktas and Ortakoy). The asian side (Kadikoy, Uskudar, Camlica) is on the other side of the Bosphorus and Marmara sea. The Adalar (Princes' Islands) are a very popular weekend destination for most of the "Istanbuler" (the name for the locals living in Istanbul).
The typical relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere is just begging for you to sit down at one of the many outside cafés to enjoy a glass of cay (the name for the black tea drunk from tulip shaped glasses) and play tavla (backgammon) just as you will find many of the locals doing.