Istanbul is a magnet for people from all over the world. Its history, culture and geography make it the world's No. 1 crossroads -- physically, as the bridge between Europe and Asia; historically as Trojans, Greeks, Persians, Crusaders and others passed through; and culturally, as a place where mostly Christian Europe meets the Islamic Middle East. At right is my photo of the Galata Tower, built centuries ago by Italians.
Writer Jan Morris finds Istanbul enchanting. Here is an excerpt of an article Jan wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald:
Nowhere in Europe is more suggestive than the rambling enclave that is the Topkapi Palace, where once the Ottoman sultans held court, where the harem gossiped and the executioners sharpened their blades and from whose gardens you can look out across the fateful waters of the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus. No refreshment break is more satisfying than a cup of thick coffee and a sweetmeat taken at a table beside the Golden Horn, frequented by seafarers since the days of Homer. You can imagine in these streets the imperial legionaries of Constantine himself, the janissaries of Islam, looting Christians from Venice on their way to the Crusades, merchants from all the nations setting up their stalls in its famous markets.
Read Jan's entire article by clicking on the title of this post.