The famous Blue Mosque at dusk
Known in previous incarnations （作为化身、代表）as Byzantium （拜占庭）
and Constantinople （君士坦丁堡） the ancient city of Istanbul has over the past
few decades grown a healthy cosmopolitan skin. Turkey had an economic good
time in the 1980s that led in turn to resurgence （恢复生机）in national tourism
when the thoroughfares of Istanbul were crowded with new restaurants，
hotels， cafes and cultural institutions. The feel-good optimism was dashed by
a devastating earthquake in 1999 but the city has since recovered some if its
The Bosphorus， the strait flowing between the Sea of Marmara and the
Black Sea， creates a natural north-south divide in Istanbul - European Istanbul
comprises the bulk（大部分）of the city to the west， while Asian Istanbul is to
the east. European Istanbul is itself divided by the Golden Horn into the Old City
to the south， and Beyoglu and other modern districts to the north.
The Egyptian Dikiltas marks the site of the city's ancient hippodrome.
The Old City is where you'll find all the main sights， such as Topkapi Sarayi
（Topkapi Palace） Sultan Ahmet Camii （Blue Mosque） Aya Sofya （Sancta
Sophia）， the Atmeydani （Hippodrome） and the old city walls. The
21st-century version of Istanbul is a short walk north across the Galata Bridge，
and is exemplified by bustling Taksim Square， the eye of the city's commercial
storm. Buses， trams and the developing Metro system， not to mention
footpower， will get you around the two main parts of the city - ferries（渡轮）
can run you between them and across the Bosphorus to Asian Istanbul，
although there's little of interest for tourists in this suburban area.