Constantinople, the centre of the Byzantine Empire which lasted over a thousand years, later became Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years. The city is a mixture of Europe and Asia, a unique urban composition. A stroll around Sultanahmet, inside the city walls, among mosques, museums and the Great Bazaar is a trip through both history and daily life. Modern Istanbul is on the other side of the Galata Bridge in Beyoglu, around Taksim and the northern suburbs with lots of good restaurants and shopping. Istanbul’s Asiatic quarters have avoided much of the tourism and have retained a more humdrum character. Waterways play a central role in the life of the city and boat traffic on the Bosporus, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara is extremely intensive. Along the banks you can find small cafés where you can enjoy a glass of tea and magnificent views over the town.