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Cornucopia’s travel guide

Old City

The peninsula of the Old City was Constantine's New Rome and Ottoman Stamboul. Here are the key sights: Topkapı Palace, Ayasofia, the Süleymaniye and Blue Mosques, the Covered Bazaar and much else. Take good shoes. The Old City was the subject of Cornucopia 50, the first of the Istanbul Unwrapped series of the magazine.

1 Eminönü

One of the world's most exhilarating urban landscapes greets you as you approach the gritty historic district of Eminönü, at the entrance to the Golden Horn.

2 Sultanahmet

The starting point for any visitor to the city, Sultanahmet encompasses Ayasofya, the Hippodrome, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art and the Mosque of Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque. Behind Ayasofya lies the Topkapı.

5 Beyazid

Beyazıd Square, with the Orientalist Gates of Istanbul University, is the Old City's historic hub, a starting point for the Süleymaniye and bazaars (via the Sahaflar (book bazaar)). Visit Beyazit Mosque and the Hamam Culture Museum.

6 Süleymaniye and Saraçhane

The Süleymaniye Mosque dominates the Old City skyline, crowning it with the most elegant cascade of domes of any Ottoman mosque. The surrounding area is a treasure-trove.

7 The Golden Horn

The tide has turned on this famous inlet, once the hub of the city's commercial life. Now it is a pleasant backwater of gently crumbling hillside districts, with old palaces, city walls and shrines, celebrated in Cornucopia 50.

8 The Walls of Istanbul

The Land Walls of Constantinople are far too rarely visited. One of the great wonders of Byzantine engineering, they are slowly in the process of being unkindly restored. Hurry to see them in their glorious decay before they have been entirely Disney-ified.

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