Turkey's tourism bosses couldn't have written a better publicity blurb themselves.
Ancient Istanbul has just got a bang up-to-date modern twist in the form of thriller writer Dan Brown's latest tome.
Istanbul, already a favourite with holidaymakers on city breaks, is the latest destination under Brown's spotlight in his new page-turner, Inferno.
The city's evocative streets play their part in the tale of a symbolist trying to stop the spread of a deadly virus.
Locations include one of Turkey's most celebrated cultural sites, the Basilica Cistern.
This is a colossal sixth-century subterranean chamber that was used to store water at the time when Istanbul was the ancient city of Byzantium.
Its ceiling is held up by 336 columns, two deploying carved upside-down heads of the haunting snake-haired Greek mythological figure Medusa as part of their structure.
Istanbul isn't only one of Europe's biggest cities, it is now also officially the best.
Turkey's largest city, with a population of more than 13 million, has recently been voted Best European Destination 2013 in the coveted European Consumers Choice awards.
The city's eclectic tourism attractions make it ideal for group tours or tailor-made holidays.
Stunning features include museums, mosques, palaces and pavilions, fortresses, statues and monuments, towers and castles, seafood restaurants, and Turkish baths.
Its shopping centres range from the 15th-century Grand Bazaar to modern Bebek, providing the liveliest nightlife destinations.
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