Visually stunning and spanning two continents, Istanbul lies on a cultural fault line. Evidence of its pivotal historical role - from the Byzantine era, through the glories of the Ottoman period, to the age of Ataturk's distinctive modernity - is reflected in the city's architecture. Those in search of the old Orient don't have to look far: the minarets of the curvaceous Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, old men drinking tea in the recesses of the Grand Bazaar are all here, and respected by the modern city. But there is another side to the city. The Istanbul of today manages the trick of combining age-old, much-appreciated glories with modern worldwide cultural trends. "Time Out" Istanbul's locally based writers are ideally placed to guide readers through the fashionable restaurants, innovative music and lively bar and nightlife scenes that are an integral part of modern Istanbul, a city that not only survives, but thrives, as a synthesis of cultures.