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Istanbul, Turkey,Turkey

Situated on the Bosphorus Strait that separates Europe from Asia, Istanbul is, itself, a historical and cultural link between the East and West. Once known as Constantinople, this former capital of the Roman Empire is known for being religiously tolerant and, hence, an inviting tourist destination for Westerners interested in experiencing Islamic culture.

The Bosphorus itself is a geological wonder with a history of strategic and commercial importance. Visit the Blue Mosque to see how the interplay between Byzantine and Islamic architecture give rise to the breathtaking beauty of this historical building, so named because of the handmade blue tiles that adorn its interior walls.

Your sightseeing is not complete until you visit the vast Topkapi Palace. Having served as home to the sultans for 400 years, the Topkapi Palace was a city within a city. Within its walls, you can see the crisp and free flowing lines of Ottoman art and architecture. The Sultan, his family, and his harem lived in complete seclusion deep within the walls of the palace.

Visit the area that housed the intriguing harem and the eunuchs that guarded them. Visit the apartment and garden of the esteemed Sultan's mother. Within Tokapi Palace, view pieces of the collection of the Imperial Treasury. Here are housed art work, jewelry, even the Prophet Muhammed's cloak and sword. Istanbul, Turkey is one of the few places Westerners can experience Islamic culture up close.