Istanbul, the Republic of Turkey: a time worn metropolis once trounced about by the likes of Emperors Constantine and Justinian I — where East meets and co-mingles wonderfully with West.
The city has so much to offer the curious tourist with an insatiable eye for visual delicacies. Arresting aquamarine views of the Bosphorus Strait; Byzantine ruins resigned to crumble nobly; spontaneous clarinet jam sessions in alleyways; billowing peach-and-watermelon-scented shisha clouds; sprawling gilded complexes once inhabited by sultans and concubines garbed in flowing silk kaftans; politically-charged and spray-painted street art; humming bazaars which astound with their cornucopia-like displays of toothsome Turkish Delight, sun-catching copper tea sets, thinly glazed ceramic bowls, Pashmina scarves woven in buttery pastel cashmere, and tinkling, suspended rainbows comprised of dainty stained-glass Ottoman lanterns.
Shopaholics won’t be the only ones pleased the heaps of veritable eye candy proffered by the exotic urban centre. Institutions like Istanbul Modern and SALT (a not-for-profit, bank-funded institution which hosts exhibitions, conferences and public programs while carrying out interdisciplinary research projects) ensure that visitors to and natives of the “City of the World’s Desire” all get their fill of critically-debated and cutting-edge contemporary art.
Check out the images below of Istanbul — gritty and whimsical, ancient and alive — and perhaps plan your own adventure to this constantly-stirring cosmopolitan locale, which proves to be much more than a far-flung destination for top-notch lamb kebab.
Photographs by Julia Kim and Tifanee McCullough