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Istanbul, Turkey
Hottest International City: Istanbul
Runner-up: New York City
The legendary metropolis that was born as Byzantium then became Constantinople and is now Istanbul has captivated the world’s imagination for millennia. Few places can hold a light to the charm and beauty of this fabled city whose heart belongs to both Europe and Asia. With a treasury of world-renowned wonders from the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque to the Grand Bazaar and a litter of glittering palaces beside the Bosphorus Strait, it’s no surprise Istanbul is our expert panel’s choice for Hottest International City in 2011. The accolade might have something to do with the spotlight that shone on Turkey’s largest city last year as a reigning European Capital of Culture. More likely it’s simply recognition of all the excitement of the Golden Horn, from fairytale accommodation and a melting pot of cuisines to imperial remains and a thriving social scene that rivals Manhattan’s. www.tourismturkey.org
PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY IMAGES

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