Istanbul makes all the latest travel hot lists, for good reason. Domed mosques, topped with fairy-tale minarets, anchor scores of neighborhood squares where prayer calls echo down cobbled lanes. Boats of every size navigate the Bosporus Strait, where old men crowd bridges to drop fishing lines and gossip, while along the shores, cafés serve thimbles of thick Turkish coffee.
This Silk Road terminus can sometimes feel as chaotic as exotic. Istanbul residents complain about the crush of traffic and the gaggles of tourists increasingly drawn to a rejuvenated world capital. Still, Istanbul has managed the transition from a city of 7 million residents in 1990 to today’s metropolis of over 15 million far better than other boomtowns like Beijing. Some landmarks have been compromised, but the city’s astonishing architectural endowment remains unrivaled in depth and diversity.
Click here to read the full article at TIME Magazine online.