Let me tell you a story. A tale of one of the most beautiful places on planet earth. One day, Zeus fell in love with Io, a nymph, and that provoked the wrath of Hera, his wife. The irked Hera turned Io into a cow and launched a gadfly in pursuit. To avoid the bite of the gadfly, Io jumped into the waters of the Bosphorus, which also means “cow crossing”. Today, along the shores of the strait stands a new city that was born then. Along 32 km in length and 660 to 3000 m in width this charming piece of land called Istanbul.
Built on two continents of Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a predominantly a city of water. It is divided down the middle by the Bosphorus Strait, while the Golden Horn estuary, forming a great natural harbor, is split on the European part.
In the morning, when hordes of cars and workers hastily invade the boulevards, Istanbul dons the garb of an European metropolis. At sunset, when the domes and minarets stand out, and the music of Anatolia rises along the lanes, the city undoubtedly evokes the feel of the Thousand and One Nights. The 13 million Istanbulites peacefully reconcile this dual identity, allowing themselves to experience the best of both worlds.
Historical entanglements of Greek, Roman and the Byzantine empires, the Islamic civilization and the Turkish nation have left their traces in every nook of the city and have been building the grandest monuments to each other.