Istanbul is the only city in the world that can claim to be between two different continents: Europe and Asia. Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, served as the capital of 4 empires for 16 centuries, and is known as one of the hubs of flourishing culture and history. The city has a bridge that connects East and West; the Asian side accommodates one third of the city's population and the European side accommodates the commercial and historical center of the city. Istanbul is the second most populated city in Europe, (following Moscow), and is known for the immense culture that lies within its walls. Istanbul, or Constantinople, served as the capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire; so imagine how much fusion of art, culture, literature... must have flourished from this city.
Today, Istanbul is a combination of the past and the current times we are living in. You can either choose to shop in a local bazaar or you can choose to shop in a shopping mall. You can either choose to visit the best of each empire, for example take visit the Tokapi Palace of the Ottoman Empire, or the Church of St. Saviour of Chora that houses the Byzantine splendor through the frescoes and paintings. Or, you can hop down under the bridge and discover the local shops and restaurants waiting to be explored. If you want to relax for a while, visit a hamam and let the heat spread through each pore of your body.
If you love to walk through the streets of a city full of history and cultural diversity, do consider doing a home exchange in Istanbul. You will not only get to visit a beautiful city with so much to admire, but you will see the city through the eyes of a local.