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September 29, 2009

Condé Nast Traveler's Love Letter to Istanbul

The area around the Ortaköy Mosque is now party central.

by Roger Sauerhaft

As a college undergraduate deliberating where to spend a semester abroad--and making no progress toward a decision--a summer internship on the editorial side of Condé Nast Traveler was the perfect remedy for my stalemate.

I had narrowed my search down to five cities after browsing my school's (University of Michigan) international programs Web site and eliminating programs based on my preferences. This left me with three cities to inquire about: Istanbul, Prague, and Stockholm. So whenever I was between projects, I ventured about the office in search of the best advice my internship could buy.

The consensus was unanimous: Staffers at Traveler are in love with Istanbul (see the May 2009 issue).
* It's always been beautiful and full of history, but sort of second-world, said senior editor Lisa Gill. "Now, in the past ten years, it's the hottest place in Europe. All the 'ideas people' go to Istanbul&I love it."
* The only city in the world to straddle two continents, the Turkish capital is considered the "crossroads" of the world--bridging the Islamic world with the West. "It fractures of having two feet in both worlds, and not being able to figure out which world it belongs to," said Clive Irving, the senior consulting editor. "It's a fascinating place. It really is the crossroads."
* Staffers also stressed the significance of traveling to Istanbul now, as the transitional energy makes it the hot and happening place to be.
* Perhaps the only drawback I discovered is the Turkish language. "I know a lot of correspondents who have been in Istanbul a year and are still having trouble picking it up," said deputy news editor Deborah Dunn, citing the difficulty of tenses and pronunciation.

So the votes are in. Now it's time to send out applications and see what happens.

Further reading:
* Istanbul's Lush Life (May 2009)
* Turkish Delights: Istanbul's places and prices


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