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Strolling Through Istanbul: The Classic Guide to the City [Paperback]

Hilary Sumner-Boyd , John Freely
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 19 2010 Tauris Parke Paperbacks
Available for the first time since its original publication thirty-seven years ago, this classic guide to Istanbul by Hilary Sumner-Boyd and John Freely is published in a completely revised and updated edition. Taking the reader on foot through Istanbul, the European City of Culture 2010, the authors describe the historic monuments and sites of what was once Constantinople and the capital, in turn, of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, in the context of the great living city. Woven throughout are anecdotes, secret histories, hidden gems, and every major place of interest the traveler will want to see. Practical and informative, readable and vividly described, this is the definitive guide to and story of Istanbul, by those who know it best.

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Review

Praise for Strolling Through Istanbul:
 
"A classic. The best travel guide to Istanbul." --The Times
 
“A guide book that reads like a novel” William Buckley, The New York Times 
 
"It is a guide-book that reads more like a literary tale and should do well with its subject city decreed European Capital of Culture this year." --The Bookseller

"Both engaging and scholarly, this is a guide to Istanbul that has yet to be surpassed." --Daily Telegraph/ telegraph.co.uk

About the Author

John Freely is the author of over thirty travel books and guides including Istanbul: The Imperial City. He lives in Istanbul, Turkey.

Hilary Sumner-Boyd (1910-1976) was professor of humanities at Robert-College-Bosphorus University. His magisterial work, The Seven Hills of Constantinople: A Study of the Byzantine and Turkish Monuments of the City, was unpublished at the time of his death in 1977 and is now being prepared for publication by Bosphorus University Press.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Travel to Istanbul just got easier Feb. 13 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Freely text, Strolling Through Istanbul, is a tour de force of historical knowledge about Istanbul. Set in the guise of a walking tour of various areas, the book is at once an in depth guide of what can be seen and a critical evaluation of aspects of what is being seen. Point by point, museum to mosque, the value of this book cannot be understated. It will surely be my travelling companion this coming May. This book should be required reading for all travellers Istanbul bound!
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect walking companion. May 1 2011
By Robert M. Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We visited Istanbul for the first time last Summer. Our hotel was located about 3 short blocks from the Blue Mosque, a perfect spot from which to launch a walking adventure. Our journey was enhanced by notes from good friends who had visited the same area 5 or 6 times. Their suggestions brought us to places we would have never found on our own. Strolling Through Istanbul serves the same purpose, only with much more detail and skillfully drawn maps to assist in finding locations in the maze that characterizes the entire City. Finding one unique, out of the way cultural/historic site not frequented by tourist hordes is well worth the price of this exceptional guide book.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed Companion to Exploring Istanbul June 13 2011
By R. W. Salthouse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This guide is indispensable for anyone who wants to explore the city in depth and get off the normal tourist track. Of course, it still covers (in great detail) all of the must-see sights - Haghia Sophia, the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet (Blue Mosque), Topkap', and so forth. But this book goes far beyond those monuments, to show you exquisite small Ottoman mosques and Byzantine churches, plus the older, picturesque neighborhoods of Istanbul, all in a series of detailed walking tours, with very good maps. We particularly enjoyed following the walking tour of Üsküdar on the Asian side. The only drawback is the book's size; at nearly 500 pages, it is does not slip into a pocket or a purse. And you will need a conventional guidebook for lodgings. restaurants, and transportation, as well as an overall map of the city. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Touristing in Istanbul May 23 2011
By Robert Cox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is priceless for historically-minded tourists who want to carry with them a detailed explanation of what they are looking at. It covers all the major sites in old Constantinople, and has information on many other historical sites as well. We carried it on our recent (April 2011) trip, and were well pleased with it. Minor drawbacks include somewhat murky maps -- it's a good idea to get a good map, available from various tourist info kiosks -- and some information that apparently wasn't updated from the first edition. But overall this book made our time in Istanbul much better. However, this book is not a practical book like Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, etc. -- you'll need one of those also to help you figure out how to get around, where to stay, and so on.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best for the serious, long staying traveler. July 27 2011
By Peter A. Butzin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is packed full of helpful, critical detail on all the sights (and then some) of the Old City. It is also packed full of history, although the organization is understandably by the geographic sector or street, rather than by chronology.

If I were visiting Istanbul for an extended period, or were an academic, the book would rate at least one more star.

However, the maps are next to useless, and there are few photographs. There is almost no information on local customs, restaurants and hotels.

The book is quite readable, and I enjoyed it, but when my wife and I visit Istanbul for a long weekend, I'm more likely to pack the Lonely Planet guide to Istanbul. That's because it fits in a hip pocket, includes fold out maps, lots of color pictures, and suggestions for restaurants, etc. On the other hand, if I have room for one more book, I may also pack "Strolling Through Istanbul" for all the detail that it includes about the tourist attractions.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most interesting history course you'll ever take on foot April 6 2012
By Paul Bianchi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the last edition of this book 15 years ago, when I was an expat teacher living in Istanbul. Some of my happiest memories of that time are of wandering through the back alleys of the city with this book, early on Saturday mornings before the bustle started. While there are plenty of badly-researched travel guides that give you (an often erroneous) overview, and lots of academic histories of the city big enough stop a truck, this book occupies a unique niche. This is a walking historical tour guide, written by two of the most enthusiastic and literate historians of the city, who actually have lived there most of their lives. Istanbul is not a "pretty" city, it is a chaotic mash-up of old and new, and a quick bus tour of the place may well leave you unmoved. But take a bit of time to learn the histories, the layers to this city, and it becomes an utterly magical, fascinating place. This book helps you do that.

I bought the new edition in anticipation of a trip this summer and revisiting some of those old walks, that the city has changed dramatically in the last decade, so a re-write is very welcome. This is not a book for a whirlwind two-day bus tour of the city. Like all worthwhile things, the book requires a bit of time and commitment (read at least parts of it before you go), a willingness to get off the beaten track and visit some out-of-the-way parts of the city, to risk getting lost now and again in ancient, unsigned streets. But, this is Istanbul, Constantinople, Byzantium - really, if you aren't willing to do that, why are you going at all?
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