The book I read to research this post was Lonely Planet Istanbul which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. Istanbul officially has a population of 14 million but unofficially it is thought to be closer to 20 million and on average it receives 8 million visitors per year making it Turkey's top tourist destination. In general the hotels are a little expensive but this is made up by the plethora of free attractions. It is one of the great historical cities of the world. In Islam it is the 4th holiest city behind Jerusalem, Medina & Mecca. It spans two continents Europe and Asia and one of the best attractions is the Golden Horn Ferry which is on the Bosphorous and links the 2 halves of the city. There is also the Hagia Sophia which is very old and has an immense dome and has at different times been a church and a mosque and is now a museum. It took several attempts to erect the dome which kept collapsing and was built by trial and error. There is the very important Blue Mosque considered a shrine by Muslims. Istanbul has been the centre of various empires especially the Byzantine & Ottoman but isn't currently the capital city of Turkey as they built Ankara specifically for that purpose to try and open up the interior of the country which is sparsely populated. There is a city wall around the ancient city much of it still intact. In the 60's & 70's many hippies visited this city which then was a budget destination. Turkey did suffer a major economic collapse in 2001 and elections had to be called as a result but does seem to be gradually recovering. Fairly recently it joined the EC and does seem to have put its past of military coups and totalitarian governments behind it. Turkey is the most populated country in Europe after Russia and it is rapidly growing. I did really enjoy this book which is very informative and the authors' enthusiasm does come through.Vanlilith
Virginia Maxwell's Istanbul travel guides are up-to-date over the years and impeccably well researched. Further, her personal assessments are spot on and have been very useful to me on my visits to Istanbul. I consider Maxwell my go-to Istanbul traveler's resource.Catherine Woodman
we used this extensively in IstanbulRenuka Vijay Kumar
Hamans, Doner Kebabs, fish sandwiches.....I'm coming!!Lorri
Adequate. I'm not a big city person and I can't imagine spending more than a day or two in Istanbul before heading out and away from the crowds. An entire book describing every mosque and place to shop was underwhelming. I suppose it's a wise marketing ploy on Lonely Planet's part - send a researcher to Istanbul and put the information into a book on the city, a chapter on the country, another chapter on the area, and some bits in those coffee table books.Monica Williams
It's obvious that Virginia Maxwell knows and loves Istanbul. Her LP guide to the city is a great resource for museums, restaurants and historical sites if you're visiting only the city. I would suggest another book if you're visiting other cities, however. The photographs are great. The metro stops, maps and hours of featured sites are also helpful.