Strolling Through Istanbul: The Classic Guide to the City Paperback – Jan 19 2010
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*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magisterial work, The Seven Hills of Constantinople: A Study of the Byzantine and Turkish Monuments of the City, was unpublished at the time of his death in 1977 and is now being prepared for publication by Bosphorus University Press.
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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?
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.