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Standing astride two continents, surrounded by a garland of water, the past capital of two empires and of modern Turkey, and with visible history that stretches back nearly three millenia, Istanbul is, simply, unique.

And stunning. It's historic centre is all that the tourist posters claim: an overwhelming record of Byzantine, Ottoman and republican history, of incomparable religious buildings, fine secular architecture, and bustling commerce. Little wonder that to many this brillian peninsular is Istanbul.

But Istanbul has much, much more to offer than the mosques, musuems, monuments and markets of its history-laden heart typically seen by the short-stay tourists. It is also a huge, vibrant modern city. To the north of the ancient centre, across the fabled Golden Horn, fashion centres, high-rise buildings, and the latest shopping malls cater to a thriving economy and a rapidly growing population. To the east of the enchanting Bosphorus waterway, on the Asian shore which houses one third of the city's population, the historic commingles with fine stores, lively cafes and tranquil marinas.

In this book architectural photographer, John Cleave, and famed chronicler of Istanbul's history and treasures, John Freely, have collaborated to present these many aspects of the city. Included are 175 of Cleave's illustrations, water colour-like in style but in fact computer derived from his original digital images, and accompanied by his own annotations. His illustrations focus on the famous landmarks for which Istanbul is renowned, and also capture the lesser known and modern aspects of the city. Freely's text, drawn from his incomparable knowledge of the city that has for so long been his home, provides authoritative introductions to the city centre and surrounding areas.

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