EAST WEST: Where Europe and Asia Meet

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We approach the city by air, gliding over green and blue landscape with the sun gleaming on the sea. A narrow shining ribbon winding from the blue Marmara to the Black Sea, the dark Kara Deniz, the Pontus Euxinus of antiquity. For two and a half thousand years, though, people came here by sea, usually passing from the Aegean through the Dardanelles, the Greek Hellespont, and then across the Sea of Marmara, the ancient Propontis. The imperial city would dramatically appear between the paleness of sea and sky, its domes and towers rising from the hills on either side of the entrance to the Bosphorus, that beautiful strait separating Europe from Asia.
Other peoples came overland: Tartars, Seljuks, Ottomans, Alans, Arabs. Wave after wave of invaders, raiders, traders.
The City - now Istanbul, Constantinople for over a thousand years, Byzantium once upon a time - has it's own life woven from romance, war, terror, history and what Orhan Pamuk calls huzun, a melancholic longing for what once was seen as perfection. The City is the starting point for Turkey, Asia Minor, Anatolia, the entire Middle East. Looking out at the Golden Horn from the Galata Bridge, imagining the Hellenes and the Genoese and the Conquerer himself, just over the skyline. Storks fly south from the Balkans to nest in Ephesus on top of Roman columns. People work all night for low wages to finish a leather jacket for the European lady. People carry on their lives amid the ruins and remains of squalor and waste. People come here from all over Turkey and the population soars above ten million. Istanbul, unforgettable city of dreams and desire.