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A Sea of Minarets – Istanbul in 2015 Pt I.

From historical to contemporary times the city of Istanbul has always been a meeting point of cultures, marking the border between Europe and the Islamic world. In geographical terms the border is clearly defined, it is the Bosporus strait. But not just since the opening of the first Metro line beneath the Bosporus – the Marmaray in 2013 – the cultural borders are not so clear anymore. While some districts like Galata are defined by modern shops, night clubs and skating kids with headphones, other are way more traditional and religious. Despite the stark contrasts, there are no obvious tensions. Also Istanbul is a very welcoming place for travelers, receiving guests with open arms. Just beware of the merchants in the Grand Basar and do not believe every fairy story they tell, regardless of the oriental charm of the bargainer.