Galata Tower, in background, gives visitors an excellent view of Istanbul, Turkey's largest city. Last summer, Istanbul's Taksim Square was the scene of violent confrontations between police and protesters. But protests have faded, and contrary to some lingering perceptions, it's quite calm now — except for the normal hustle and bustle found in this vibrant city. And it's as safe for tourists as it ever was. Istanbul is a thoroughly modern place, but it traces its roots back to 660 BC. It's the former seat of the opulent Byzantine and Ottoman empires and is divided into European and Asian sides by the Bosporus Strait, offering a wealth of history and stunning scenery.
The Associated Press