The Bosphorus - the strait which separates European and Asian Turkey - is one of the world's most beautiful and romantic waterways, eulogized by Byron and many other travellers. Here Eastern and Western cultures meet in the architecture of houses and palaces built along its shores by generations of Ottoman families and sultans. The extraordinary Topkapi Palace dominates the skyline, but amongst the most striking buildings are the yalis, huge wooden mansions built between the late 17th and 19th centuries. Later sultans built imposing palaces in the Baroque style, and many summer embassies, including the beautiful art-nouveau Egyptian embassy, were created along the Bosphorus in the 19th century. This book documents both the architectural and social history of these magnificent houses and palaces.