This program has a new date (originally Dec. 10, 2013).
It is a city of mystery, a city of wonders, and a city whose history is unlike any other. It is Istanbul. Once known as Byzantium, then renamed Constantinople, Istanbul, straddling the Bosphorous in northwestern Turkey, is one of history’s most significant cities, having served as the capital of four empires. It played an important role in the advancement of Christianity—until the Ottomans took over and transformed it into an Islamic entity under caliphate rule.
The city is filled with outstanding examples of architecture inspired by its various rulers and religions. Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences are readily apparent. Once a major stop along the Silk Road, its historic center is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. From Topkapi Palace to Hagia Sophia, and from the Chora Monastery to the Grand Bazaar, its storied past continues to captivate us.
Tonight, Serif Yenen, a travel specialist and author, premieres the documentary film Istanbul Unveiled, which he produced and directed. It highlights iconic places to visit, as well as some unique sites off the beaten path, all framed though interviews with a cross-section of residents that range from a noted belly dancer to a masseur at a bath to one of the nation’s richest women.
Afterward, enjoy a reception provided by the Turkish Ministry of Culture.
Watch the trailer for Istanbul Unveiled.
To listen to samples of folk and traditional music from Turkey, click here>>
Explore Istanbul's Byzantine and Ottoman sites on tour—Black Sea Cruise.
Visit the Smithsonian Journeys page to see more