Constantinople has been Istanbul for more than 500 years but the former is still very much in evidence here. The skyline is dominated by the six minarets of the elegant 17th-century Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) just beside the 6th-century symbol of Byzantine glory, the Santa Sophia church. Nearby is that other Byzantine marvel, the gigantic underground cistern which supplied the city with water brought from the aqueducts of the Roman emperors, Hadrian and Valens.
History is omnipresent in this multi-racial, multi-ethnic, polyglot, cosmopolitan city. Politically, the Centre-Right and the Centre-Left have come together to marginalise the fundamentalists, and with economic prosperity the passions aroused by Ocalan have calmed down. The resulting economic boom has transformed Istanbul in the four years since I was last here.