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While some ancient cities' worth is equal to the sum of their respective monuments, Istanbul brings significantly more to the table. One of the chief attractions are the locals themselves, with their contagious love of life and gregarious spirit. This vibrant, ever-growing community is full of people who work and play harder, treasure their family and friends, and blend modernity and tradition seamlessly in their everyday lives. To join them in the favorite hangouits – tea gardens, coffeehouses, meyhanes (Turkish taverns) and kebap restaurants – is always a highlight.