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Founded in 667 BC, Istanbul has been the capital of both Christian and Islamic empires. It is one of those intense, dynamic metropolises where the fault lines of the world collide. David Byrne describes Istanbul as "intoxicating" and this evocative anthology, part of the city-pick series, captures its unique atmosphere. In 1841, Hans Christian Andersen noted that "the Turks are the most good natured and honest people there are". In the following decade, Flaubert predicted that this vast "anthill" of a city would become "the capital of the world". ButSimone de Beauvoir had reservations. She commented on the absence of women in the streets: "It felt as though we were on the fringe of a disinherited country and of some dismal Middle Ages." In the pages of this anthology you can visit a hamam (Turkish bath) with its "masseur-torturers", experience the moods of the city's people and sample its cuisine including kokoreç (sheep intestines) and a dish called "the imam fainted" which is apparently made with aubergines. As ever with this excellent series, there is much to savour.