istanbul (not constantinople)
Perhaps you thought I might give it a rest with the Turkey posts. Wrong.
Istanbul feels like layer after layer of civilisations and ideologies, sometimes built over each other, sometimes squished side by side. You can check out a massive underground cistern built by a Byzantine emperor to store water for his people, gawk at an Ottoman harem, wander down elegant boulevards flanked by neo-classical buildings, visit sleek art galleries, cross the Golden Horn and stand between Asia and Europe, people-watch at unapologetically-hip cafes, browse at ancient bookstores whose owners all seem to be fighting the relentless development of the city, and always, always, eat well. It has been at the crossroads of culture since 330 AD, and five days wasn't quite enough for me to take it in with any real sense of coherence. Which is fine, because I will most certainly be back.