Istanbul, city of sultans and harems and pashas. As Constantinople, it played a central role in the Roman Empire, later becoming the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Before that, it was called Byzantium by its Greek founders. Straddling the two continents of Europe and Asia, it has been and still is the conduit of commerce and culture beween them, creating a cosmopolitan, multi-dimensional atmosphere. Istanbul, cultural center of the only Muslim republic, weaving the newest chapter of its story..