Enjoy Istanbul. Photo: Slawomira Kozieniec

Every year there seems to be a new guide to Istanbul. As the popularity of the city grows the number of tourists who visit the city for a couple of days as the start of exploring Turkey or just to hop off the cruise liner for a day increases as well. most of them come with a guide in their bag.

Many publishers want to have a piece of this lucrative market. It is not easy to come up with something beyond the cliches. British travel writer Pat Yale (known for her contributions to the Turkey guides of Lonely Planet) and professional Turkish tour guide Saffet Emre Tonguç have done just that.

In their comprehensive book ‘Istanbul: the Ultimate Guide’ they provide a different take on the city by also focusing on locations lesser well-known by visitors. Tonguç served as a guide to Colin Powell, Calvin Klein and Oprah Winfrey and Pat Yale fell in love with the city on her first visit in 1974.

Their book is rich in information and is 614 pages thick. It shows over 2,000 places in the city, including restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, hotels, hostels, night clubs and Turkish baths. And it is lavishly illustrated with 3,000 photos, maps and miniatures.

I love the old postcards they used as illustrations as well. Not only for the nostalgic atmosphere but also to show us how fast the city is transforming from the neglected former capital of the Ottoman Empire to a buzzing cultural and economic city that embraces modern times against the backdrop of the golden ages of former civilizations.