August 01, 2014

The Big Read: Amazing Istanbul


Istanbul, where the continents are divided by the Bosphorus, is further divided into old Istanbul, with the mosques and museums and narrow streets and no building more than four stories high, and new Istanbul, with the massive shopping squares and off-shoot thoroughfares that resemble Henry St on Christmas Eve every day. 

If you take the Travel Department package to Istanbul you have three full days and nights in the new Constantinople. But if you are young, or young at heart, you can snatch an extra night. This is one of those cities that never sleeps. 

Hop on the tram — the last one leaves around midnight, but you can get a cab back — and head to Taksim Square, where all humanity is heaving and having fun, locals and tourists off the several cruise ships that call into port every day. 

You won’t have any trouble waking up in the morning because the Imams from the several mosques will have you out of bed at first light as they call the Muslim faithful to prayer. And if you fall back to sleep after that, the muezzin will reprise it — five times a day, in fact. It is a strange sound, but after a while it grows on you and you find yourself looking forward to its mysticism and musicality. 

Read more on The Independent Ireland: The Big Read: Amazing Istanbul

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