January 02, 2011

Istanbul thrives as the new party capital of Europe

The Golden Horn is booming as the world's most dynamic city transforms its skyline and artists and students help make it buzz
<<Istanbul's covered market, an early shrine to shopaholism, is about to celebrate its 550th anniversary with a multimillion-pound facelift. In fact, the entire city is in the throes of a multibillion-pound makeover, as what was once an outpost on the edge of Europe rebrands itself as a regional magnet.
The city is buzzing. Only a few years ago, when residents spoke of millennium domes it was not the O2 venue for the latest Lady Gaga concert they had in mind, but the thousand years separating the Church of Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque on the skyline of the city's historic peninsula. But now there are new skylines. At the European entrance to the Bosphorus bridge, work goes on through the night on the Zorlu Centre, a hotel-arts-shopping-residential-office complex. It is just down the road from the Sapphire skyscraper, which advertises itself as Istanbul's tallest building, and with a strong arm you could throw a stone at the new Trump Towers.
"Istanbul is a country, not a city," says its mayor, Kadir Topbas, and the explanation of its modern boom is buried in the history of the past 30 years.>> 

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