Istanbul is the crossroads of the East and West. I visited in 2000, 2002, and most recently in June 2013 (photos are from the latest visit). It has grown over these years with the addition of some modern skyscrapers and elegant malls. Historic attractions and street market abound as this was the bustling capital of the Ottoman empire and others before it. You can spend several days here seeing all the palaces, mosques, baths, and bazaars.

While the city is generally safe, I’ve had a few issues where someone comes up to harass me in the street, sellers being pushy, and taxis drivers trying to rip me off. I advise travelers to take care with financial transactions here and just assume every seller and taxi is a crook! Update: since the advent of Uber and similar ride-hailing platforms, this problem has mostly subsided.

The photos below show some of the new areas of Istanbul with business centers and malls, and some of the old city attractions, views at the waterfront and panoramas from the highest new tower in Istanbul (Sapphire).

Update: Some picture added in the bottom from a newer visit in the winter of 2016.

Let’s start with the famous Taksim square downtown, surrounded by most of the historic monuments

Cruising the city’s waterways to see all the histric places, hills and fishing markets around the banks — some great shots during sunset time with everything glowing and the majestic birds flying around

Exlporing some of the historic mosques and nearby shops/bazaar district, trying some local food & tea

Visiting the elegant new Sapphire tower in the suburbs of the city, with a lavish mall at the bottom and a rooftop panoramic observation deck

Exploring some other modern parts of the city, including the curve-shaped Kanyon mall and Levent area

Latest photo collection from 2016, some new modern buildings and waterfront areas that I have noticed

Some great aerial shots showing the city’s major business districts, waterways and bridges