The West ends and
the East begins in Istanbul, the ancient, one-time capital city of Turkey.
Once known as Byzantium, and later as Constantinople, Istanbul was first
settled before the birth of Christ. Located on the narrow, 17-mile-long
straits of the Bosporus, it was once the seat of the Ottoman Empire. The
straits of the Bosporus connect the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea.
is rich in history, having been founded in the seventh century before the
Christian era by a Greek navigator named Byzas. Over the centuries, it has
often been a battleground, not only for physical possession of the city and
its riches, but also for men's religious beliefs. Before 478 B.C. Darius,
king of Persia, took the town. Again, in 1453, the town was taken,
this time by Mehmet II, a Turk, who defeated the emperor Constantine XI
Dragases. It was he who brought the symbolic crescent moon and star to the
city. Under his occupation, many of Istanbul's churches became mosques.
most popular sightseeing attraction is Istanbul are the Mosque of Sultan
Ahmed (also known as the Blue Mosque), the Topkapi Palace and the
Archaeological Museum. Other Istanbul sights that are popular with visitors
are the Hippodrome and the covered bazaar.
In a city, noted for
its glamorous international night life, the Casino Istanbul Hilton is
outstanding. The hotel itself boasts some 417 rooms or suites, a swimming
pool, several restaurants and a nightclub. But the most exciting facility at
the Istanbul Hilton Hotel is its Casino. Here, roulette and blackjack are
playing from eight o'clock daily, while slot machines play begin at four
o'clock in the afternoon.
The Casino Istanbul
Hilton's gambling token is circular, and on its obverse the identification Casino
Istanbul Hilton appears, together with a small design element resembling
a roulette wheel. On its reverse, inside a stylized wheel design, are symbol
representing the four playing card suits.
republic since 1923, Turkey has become increasingly westernized. Today, the
Roman alphabet is used in place of Arabic, and Muslim family names in place
of Arabic have dropped in favor of Western ones.
The Gregorian calendar and Western measuring standards are also used.