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Istanbul is the crossroads of the East and West. I visited in 2000, 2002, and most recently in June 2013 (photos are from the latest visit). It has grown over these years with the addition of some modern skyscrapers and elegant malls. Historic attractions and street market abound as this was the bustling capital of the Ottoman empire and others before it. You can spend several days here seeing all the palaces, mosques, baths, and bazaars.

While the city is generally safe, I’ve had a few issues where someone comes up to harass me in the street, sellers being pushy, and taxis drivers trying to rip me off.  I advise travelers to take care with financial transactions here and just assume every seller and taxi is a crook!

The photos below show some of the new areas of Istanbul with business centers and malls, and some of the old city attractions, views at the waterfront and panoramas from the highest new tower in Istanbul (Sapphire).

Hover on photos to see captions, click to enlarge them.

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