The only city in the world that stands astride two continents, Europe and Asia, Istanbul embraces both the ancient and modern worlds. Its skyline is a sparkling stretch of palaces, mosques, and minarets, but also of skyscrapers and nightclubs rivaling London`s. The largest city in Turkey and one of the most populous in the world, Istanbul was once the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and later the Ottoman Empire. Today it is the epicenter of Turkish culture and commerce.
Much of Istanbul`s charm lies in the area called the Historic Peninsula, south of the Golden Horn and north of the Sea of Marmara. This peninsula, which is home to such sights as Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia, is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Istanbul is not just a living museum, but a vibrant and cosmopolitan city.
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