ad info




TIME Asia
TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Entertainment
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia

TIME.com
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Asiaweek
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

 ASIAWEEK.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL


Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story
A New Taste of Istanbul's Turkish Delights

Illustration for TIME by Sarah Perkins


By HILARY ROXE

Istanbul, city of sultans and sages, has long attracted the adventure-seeking traveler. But at 9,000 km from Tokyo, the metropolis known as the bridge between Europe and Asia can seem a distant link to tourists from the Far East. Luckily, the leisurely chugging Orient Express is no longer the only way to access the Turkish landmark; Malaysia's and Singapore's airlines have acknowledged Istanbul's appeal with twice- and thrice-weekly flights, and Cathay Pacific has also recently begun flying twice a week from Hong Kong.

One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Turkey is also one of the most enigmatic. Tourists admire its overlapping strata of history--beginning more than 3,000 years ago and straddling the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires--and its renowned Midnight Express exoticism. But forget your notions of fez-wearing characters smoking hookahs while watching gyrating belly dancers; the city is modernizing rapidly, and the secular state that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk started in 1923 has moved far beyond its Ottoman roots toward greater international recognition and hopes to join the European Union. Modern high-rises now line Istanbul's multi-lane roads, and expensively suited businessmen are as common as carpet sellers and kebab vendors.

Not that the city's initial footings have been forgotten. From the time you pass through the meters-thick walls rimming the old city, it's clear that the fortress gates that shielded Byzantium for 1,000 years and guarded Constantinople from invaders like Attila the Hun have preserved some of the influences of past inhabitants.

In the south of the city, the structures of the Sultanahmet district span centuries. The Ayasofya, a 1,400-year-old cathedral-turned-mosque-turned-museum, served as the center of Byzantine religious life for nearly a millennium. In the 17th century, the Ottomans raised the Blue Mosque with seven minarets and elaborate adornments of blue Izmir tiles to rival the splendor of its Byzantine neighbor. Nearby, the Topkapi Palace, famed for its maze-like courtyards and the 300-room harem of the sultans, perches over Seraglio Point.

Hospitality abounds here: peddlers offer carpets, enticing potential clients from the streets with tea and tall tales, restaurateurs tempt passersby with mezze, lamb and eggplant and young boys run through the narrow streets carrying trays with tumblers of apple tea. In the winding passageways of the Covered Market, shoppers find still more carpets, tiles, trinkets and T shirts. In the aromatic corridors of the Spice Market, hawkers offer seasonings, fruit and Turkish delight.

End-of-the-day respite can be found at a range of hotels--from backpackers' haunts in Sultanahmet to the Kempinski Ciragan Palace Hotel, once the home of the 19th-century Sultan Abdulaziz (also where John F. Kennedy Jr. spent his honeymoon). There's the Pera Palace in Beyoglu, built initially for patrons of the Orient Express, now temporary home to such luminaries as Agatha Christie and Julio Iglesias. Istanbul may no longer be the gateway to Asia, but the city that straddles two continents has its doors wide open to all.




Daily

January 18, 1999

Hot Tip
Airlines are not only cracking down on passengers with oversized in-cabin luggage, they are also squabbling with each other

Web Crawling
It's hard to say what has stirred more controversy: the introduction of the euro this month--or the E.U.-backed cartoon character

Short Cuts
Hong Kong is offering a feast for culture lovers this month, with two major artistic offerings

Detour
There's still time to make the slopes this season at Pakistan's only ski resort

POLL
Is your company cutting back on work-related travel and entertainment expenses?



ASIANOW Travel Home | TIME Asia home

AsiaNow


   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.