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Cultural Treasures


Having been the capital of two major empires, Istanbul today is rich in architectural monuments. earthquakes, fires and the rampage of the Crusaders in 1204 have taken their toll and resulted in heavy destruction, but one can see architectural works across the city which reflect the past splendor.
The area between the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn is sometimes referred to as the "Peninsula of History" because of its many Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman works. The Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans, Ayasofya, the jewel of Byzantine architecture, the mosques of Süleymaniye and Sultanahmet which dominate the skyline of Istanbul... all are located here. The area opposite the shore of the Golden Horn was formerly known as "Pera", meaning "the other shore". Settled by Genoese and Venetians in the 12th century, it became a quarter inhabited mostly by Levantines and represented the western face of Istanbul. The Galata Tower built by the Genoese, the narrow streets reminiscent of Italian cities, the stately consulates, which were the embassies before the capital moved to Ankara, and the "art nouveau" buildings along Istiklal Caddesi all reflect the very cosmopolitan character of ancient Ýstanbul. Palaces, summer palaces, castles and large mansions built by the Ottomans continue to adorn Istanbul. The Yildiz Palace and Dolmabahçe, on the shores of the Bosphorus, were once the residence of the Ottoman Sultans after TopkapiPalace. The shores of the Bosphorus are also famous for the elegant wooden houses, the yali, built along the edge of the water.

The New Istanbul


Istanbul is an ever-changing city that adapts itself to new times. It has evolved over centuries and now, at the dawn of the 21st century, it is resolutely and eagerly turned towards a new future. Building on its assets inherited from a glorious past, it is rapidly becoming an international city, a financial and economic center offering services in banking, telecommunications, marketing, engineering, advertising and tourism. International conferences and festivals, fairs, fashion shows, sports and art performances give a new dimension to the life and potential of the city. The skyscrapers rising in the northwest are the new skyline of Istanbul. As small manufacturing enterprises move out of the city, they are replaced by commercial and service companies. The Istanbul Stock Exchange is beginning to take its place among the world's major bourses. The growth in business, tourism, commerce and service industries has led to a rapid increase in the number and quality of hotels in Istanbul. Once renowned for its palaces, Istanbul is now becoming a city of impressive hotels, offering not only excellent accommodation but also a wonderful view over the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. Two suspension bridges link the two sides of the city and highways encircle all of Istanbul. Although the bridges and highways have gone part way to resolve the problems caused by ever increasing automobile traffic, the problem of circulation is far from satisfactory. The configuration of the city, the narrow streets and the intensive and poorly planned construction activity in recent decades do not allow the opening of new arteries. The subway project, which will offer a limited remedy to the present situation, is being rapidly implemented.

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