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(The unpronounceable) Insider’s guide to Istanbul

The Sahaflar Carsisi (that’s book market to us,) occupies a courtyard between the Bayezid mosque and the Grand Bazaar, on the same site as the old Byzantine book and paper market. Don’t miss the Dilmen Kitabevi bookstore, where a strong-minded reader in search of humour might look out for the almost-scholarly Sexual Life in Ottoman Society. And no, it doesn’t come with pictures.

With book under arm, you’ll want a corner to read, and since there’s no such thing as a quiet corner in Istanbul – be happy with a corner for now. Grab the public ferry to Üsküdar and land yourself in the Çinaralti teahouse down by the waterfront. Now you could enjoy the views of the old city under the shade of an 800-year-old plane tree, but you came here to read so stop gawping and get your head back in your book.

If you haven’t had your fill of ‘magnificent, historical palaces’ there’s the Beylerbeyi Palace on the way back to the ferry. But you’ll have seen so many ‘magnificent, historical palaces’ that you’ll soon be yearning for the sight of a Costcutters and block of flats...

And no visit to Istanbul would be complete without the Babylon Club in Asmalimescit. The barman might not know the difference between a Bloody Mary and a pint of Guinness, but you’re here to people watch and realize where Tom Cruise got all his fashion tips.

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