Legend has it that Hera, angered by the fact that her husband Zeus had fallen in love with a young nymph named Io, turned Io into a cow. To escape the gadfly that was sent by Hera to sting her, Io jumped into the waters of the Bosphorus and swam across the strait as a cow, thus leading to the naming of the Bosphorus (“ford of the cow” in Greek). It is along the shores of this strait, which stretches over nearly 32km and reaches widths of 660m to 3,000m, that lies one of the world’s most beautiful cities: Istanbul.
Spanning two continents, Europe and Asia, Istanbul remains a water city. Its central area is divided by the Bosphorus Strait, while its European side is split by the Golden Horn, a beautiful estuary that forms a natural port
The city's morning rush hour, with its myriad cars and workers streaming quickly across the boulevards, gives Istanbul the look and feel of a European megalopolis. As dusk hits, the domes and minarets glisten in the skies and the music of Anatolia resonates in the alleys as the city takes on the looks of the Arabian Nights. The locals embrace this double identity, which allows them to enjoy the best of both worlds.
The architecture of the city’s neighbourhoods reflects the historical presence of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires, as well as the Muslim and Turkish cultures, with each monument or structure seemingly striving to outshine the next.