The true meeting place of east and west, Istanbul - once Constantinople, the ancient capital of the Eastern Roman and subsequent Byzantine Empire - was arguably the world’s center of art, culture, and politics. Straddling the Bosphorus river, the city remains one of the world’s greatest and most populous places, with somewhere between 12 and 19 million residents. While Tukey is a secular Muslim state, the city has been through so many iterations of power and domination that the population remains possibly the most liberal of any Muslim nation. Though not the political capital, it still remains a major global center of art, culture, and economy. With more to see and do than almost anywhere else on Earth, there is simply no way Istanbul could possibly disappoint even the most downtrodden of travelers.