Istanbul sits at the crossroads between east and west, old and new, Europe and Asia. Built in that sprawling, labyrinthian way that ancient cities are, it’s appeal today is its mix of ancient history and modern culture. Getting lost in its streets gives you a micro level view of Istanbul’s feel but sometimes in life, you need to get high to really appreciate things. GQ Middle East spent 24 hours in the Turkish capital. Here's how:
Watching classic films in an historic cinema
Coming to Istanbul to sit inside a dark room for 90 minutes might seem odd but the city’s Beykoz Kundura cinema, built in what used to be a tannery, is something special. Having recently added a theatre stage and screening a specially curated roster of films rather than out-and-out blockbusters, it’s a place to come and experience the origins of the medium in a plush new setting.
Eating Seafood fresh from the Bosphorous
The natural waterway that forms a border between Europe and Asia, the Bosphorous bisects Istanbul, splitting the city into two cultural halves. What they both share is fantastic seafood and restaurants in which to eat it. Sit on the banks of the Bosphorous and eat traditional Turkish mezze and seafood fresh from the water, safe in the knowledge that people have been doing the same for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Taking in the views from the Galata Tower
Once the highest point in all Istanbul, the Galata tower now offers you a 360 degree view of the city. Built by the Genoese in the 14th century, it has stood for more than six centuries and has become an integral part of the city’s skyline. Watch the sunset on the very spot where legendary Ottoman aviator Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi was said to have set off on a flight to Asia.