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On the Waterfront
The waterside neighborhood of Ortakoy is a favorite of locals and tourists looking to spend a lazy afternoon strolling its cobbled streets, playing backgammon over a few glasses of tea, or finding a spot for a picnic with an overloaded kumpir (baked potato). The Bosphorus Bridge, the first in the world to connect Asia and Europe since Hellenic times, is the ultimate photo backdrop, especially behind the Ortakoy Mosque when it's lit up at night (try to see the newly restored interior during the day, when light streams through the windows and makes the chandeliers and tiles shine). Traffic can be brutal, especially in summer or around Ramadan, but it’s a pleasant 30-minute walk past old palaces-turned-hotels in Besiktas where many ferries and buses terminate.