AS Her World Tour reached Turkey last week with aperformance at Istanbul’sTürk Telekom Arena, Madonna took time out to explore this atmospheric city.
With toyboy Brahim Zaibat in tow, The Material Girl visited breathtaking landmarks including the Sultanahmet Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque, which boasts peerless Ottoman religious architecture and six striking minarets which appear to piercethe skyline.
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Also on her must-see listwas the Hagia Sophia, a former Byzantine church turned-mosque- turned-museum decorated with colourful mosaics and Islamic calligraphy.
A visit to Istanbul wouldn’t be complete without experiencing The Grand Bazaar.
The perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture, this centuries-old covered market is a maze of more than 5,000 shops selling everything from ceramics and copperware toleather and textiles.
Another highlight is the fragrant egyptianBazaar at the southern end of the Galata Bridge, even if it’s just tophotograph the exotic spices.
For a magical view along the Bosphorus take a boat trip. Sail under the Bosphorus Bridge that joins Asia with europe and spot sumptuous palaces such as the Beylerbeyi and Dolmabahçe.
Overlooking this iconic strait of water from a hillside is the rumeli Fortress.
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Cresta (0844 879 8014/crestaholidays.co.uk) offers five nights in Istanbul at the MartinenzHotel from £487pp (two sharing), B&B.
Priceincludes return flights with BA from Heathrow.
Departs September 1, 2012. Turkish Cultural &Tourism Office: 020 7839 7778/gototurkey.co.uk