Istanbul pictures. Istanbul (formerly Byzantium and Constantinople) is the former capital of the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately the population boom meant that much of the architecture of the imperial capital has been demolished to make way for (not very high quality) modern housing, and the former glory of the city can now only be glimpsed in certain places, like in and around the mosques or on Büyükada Island. The city's nevertheless full of life: there are cafes, street vendors, restaurants, and people socializing on the street everywhere. One of the greatest assets of the city (pop.: 12+ million) is its location: along the scenic Bosphorus strait and the Sea of Maramara's shoreline.
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