Istanbul - a cultural and ethnic melting pot
It has the right reputation of being a cultural and ethnic melting pot.
The two sides are separated by the beautiful Bosphorus strait. A 10 minute ferry ride takes you from Europe to Asia. Perhaps, the best view of the European side of Istanbul is from the Asian side.
The Walls of Constantinople from 5th century BC share space with Byzantine, Genoese, Ottoman, and modern Turkish architecture. This makes Istanbul's city skyline very interesting where one sees a magnificent mosque between modern skyscrapers.
Walking down in any street one will see women dressed in hijabs and burkhas while others dressed in significantly shorter dresses. However, the men almost dress alike.
Although food habits and cuisine around the world today have a mix of old and new. Istanbul is no exception and one sees kebabs, shwarmah and traditional Turkish cuisine served as combo with fizzy cola.
People from atleast 12 different countries are staying at the hostel where I am putting up. Istanbul's geographical location is so strategic that international travelers prefer to extend their layover while travelling between East and West. The Sultanahmet area in particular is a tourist hotspot and the city embraces people of all nationalities.
I certainly am in love with this city like most others.