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on 12 July 2010
There are guidebooks, then there are guidebooks. If you need a general introduction to the incomparable city of Istanbul, giving you an overview of its many and varied attractions, and perhaps helping you choose a hotel or a restaurant or nightclub too, there are several acceptable guides available - the Rough Guide is a fair bet, notwithstanding its inaccuracies.

If, however, you are serious about getting away from the tourist drag and untangling Istanbul's many layers of history, truly getting to know the "real" place and how it has come to be what is today, then this is a book for you. Each of the 23 chapters takes you on foot along a suggested route through the streets and lanes of the Queen of Cities, enabling you to become acquainted with it in a way no other book I'm aware of makes possible. The authors are exceptionally well-informed, and prove themselves able to share their expertise in an intelligent and very readable way, devoting ample space to the countless sites of interest to the visitor without ever becoming tedious. If your particular interest is Byzantine history, or perhaps the Ottoman period, you can easily select which sites to visit - the book makes possible a pick 'n' mix approach to help you. Relevant input from historical and architectural viewpoints enables you to look at familiar locations through new eyes, and even to learn of the existence of sites you never knew existed.

The walks are of varied length, but none of them need take a full day. Plans of key buildings are detailed and appropriate to the text, and route maps are user-friendly minimising the chances of getting lost even in more remote residential areas. The 2009/2010 edition is bang up to date.

Absorb what this book has to offer before your visit, and it will genuinely enhance your experience - and thereby your memories - of Istanbul, a city like no other on earth. "Strolling Through Istanbul" has made available material previously available only in the old Blue Guide, until recently out of print for some years.
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on 11 April 2010
I landed a few hours ago from my trip to Istanbul, where this book hasn't left my bag except to be eagerly read. This is not a classical, full of pictures, timetables, tips and tricks, and restaurant list guide. It's a guide that provides itineraries through Istanbul, describing in full historical and artistical detail what you find along the way. Includes more information and more places than any other guide, and it's very useful for reading while visiting; stop for a while, find the place in the index in the back, and read aloud for the benefit of your group, and to illustrate everybody. You'll be fascinated with the history, art and technique of Sinan, know about the descriptions of Evliya Çelebi and be able to spot Iznik tiles on sight. Granted. It's even more useful if you read, before going, Istanbul: The Imperial City by one of the authors, but, in any case, it stands by itself.
The only problem I find with this is that you'll have to complement it with, at least, a map (which you can ask in any of the Tourist Information booths, or at the hotel) and maybe some information on opening and closing times; some kind of prioritization would have also been a good idea, but, in any case, it's an excellent book to carry when you're in Istanbul, probably the best.
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on 2 May 2014
Worth its weight in gold (and if you're travelling with easyJet, that's something to consider, as it's not a lightweight volume).

See other reviews for a fuller description - they are accurate - but this is worth buying a few weeks in advance of your trip, if that's its purpose, as there's a lot of reading and it can really put you in the mood.

We used it as both - for pre-reading and then went on a handful of the suggested walks with the book in our hand. It worked brilliantly for both, and is superb as a historical introduction, going into far more detail than any commercial guidebook. Written lovingly, it really conveys a spirit of the city and brings it to life.

Tip: if you're pre-reading, skip the lengthier architectural descriptions of interiors, as they can get a little dry if you're not in situ!

As others have suggested, take a commercial guidebook and decent map (for those who can get to London, I'd strongly recommend going to look in person at Stanfords rather than blind buying online as a good quality map is quite important in Istanbul - unfortunately as I write the map I bought isn't in front of me so I can't remember it to recommend it - sorry!)
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on 15 September 2014
Lovely book for an in-depth look at Istanbul, full of historical gossip, fascinating detail and forthright opinions on the architecture. The authors really seem to know their stuff. Caveats: these walks take time. Because there is a lot of information, and because their directions are often a little bit vague ("third turn on the right" rather than a street name), I find the book is most useful if I can read a walk beforehand and figure out on the map where the authors want me to go. It can also be a bit frustrating when they rhapsodize over things that are not open to the public -- and that, compounded by the fact that so much in Istanbul is being restored at the moment, means that you may feel you are missing much of what they want you to see. Never mind. If you have the time and the patience, Strolling through Istanbul is a wonderful way to get past the Top Ten Tourist Sites and really explore a great old city.
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on 17 December 2015
This is THE classic guide to follow if you really want to get to the heart and soul of Istanbul -- personal itineraries and recommendations from two people with in-depth knowledge who truly love this city. Yes, one or two entries are a little dated but that doesn't materially detract from the wealth of local insight conveyed in this book -- highly recommended!

On the other hand, Amazon's service in this instance was unacceptable -- I paid for it to be gift-wrapped, but Amazon didn't do that, just sent it in a bare empty box! -- I can't give Amazon feedback on this as it was marked as a gift (but they didn't gift-wrap it!), as their policy is that the sender can't give feedback on their performance regarding gifts!! -- Catch 22! (for those old enough to remember!).
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on 20 March 2013
Full of passion and in-depth analysis. it helps the reader understand the ottoman world and the everyday life in Istanbul as it was in the past. superb coverage of all monuments and historical sites. Arranged through a number of strolls, it helps you walk the entire historical center of the city. on the other hand it has no maps or colored pictures, just some hand-made drawings. but this is not a problem. you can get a free map and have the perfect much. i had 3 different guides with me, and i ended up strolling around mainly with this. the way it is written is just fascinating!
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on 26 November 2013
On our recent trip to Istanbul, we found this book the best guide to the many historic sights of the city. The chapters are arranged by area and involve a detailed walking tour of the streets, with comments on ancient and modern buildings not covered by the usual guide book, as well as the main sites. We discovered many hidden gems. The style is scholarly but very readable. The book went everywhere with us and enhanced our visit. Highly recommended.
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on 1 July 2017
I love it.
I still have the original book.
Well used now, very well used in Istanbul.
Treated myself to a new one as I like to just dip into it from time to time.
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on 9 March 2015
This is a very well informed book to read about the sights in Istanbul before you set off on your travels. Not a book you can read if you are on the move and have a tight schedule but if you have time on your side to sit and read at the different sites it's an excellent guide book.
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on 17 February 2018
Written some years back and recently revised. Still one of the best guides to Istanbul there is. Pack it in your suitcase.
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