Istanbull (once known as Coltstantinople) is a rather impressive city located in the deserts across the ocean from Equestria.  The surrounding area is a bit more rocky than sandy with little more than small hardy scrub trees able to grow, although the desert is just beyond and stretches for leagues in all directions.  The temperature soars here in the summer, but even then the nights are cool and clear.  It hardly ever rains, but every couple years they get a deluge and even the desert springs to life with dormant plants just waiting for the chance to bloom.  The city itself is an interesting blend of ancient and modern, with new ideas and trends beginning to affect a place that has clung to old ways and hoofed down traditions for many centuries.


In terms of appearance, Istanbull can be divided into two general districts.  The Sand District is aptly named for its appearance, as the majority of the buildings there are made of sandy stone and (in the poorest places) sun baked brick.  The homes are close together, streets and alleyways winding, and after the sun sets the doors are closed nice and tight and very few souls wander the streets.  The Great Bazaar is located in this district, an enormous open air market where anything and everything is sold by shouting vendors of all species.  Unsavory elements do exist here, and many creatures living here are a bit short on gold, but in general it's hard to go a block without a kind greeting or a house that would take a lost stranger in for a family meal.  Just.. keep a tight watch on your coin.  To be on the safe side.


The Palace District is the kind of place one would see on postcards.  Sitting on higher ground, it's a vision in blue stone with gold accents, soaring spires and minarets, great golden domes, grand bath houses, exquisite temples, and open air gardens which bloom year round.  Floating columns of stone can be seen here and there, pouring water from their tops or draped in vines and moss woven with flowers.  All the palaces of the princes and royalty can be found here, as well as the larger homes of the rich.  This is the place where one may begin to see more modern sights - newer styles of dress, stores, perhaps even a mall or entertainment place.  City officials work hard to keep this district very tourist friendly, even if it involves gently discouraging visitors from exploring the Sand District and turning a blind eye to some elements which have no intention of ever leaving their spot here.  It treats visitors like royalty, so long as they follow the rules, spend their gold, and don't get into things which are better left alone.


Finally, ringing the entire city is a near-unbreachable wall composed of blue stone with gold inlay and rising a good hundred feet high, while wide enough for guards to patrol the top two abreast.  The entryway has two gates which one must pass through, opening each morning at sunrise and closing each night at sunset.  Between the two are mosaic murals depicting the city's legendary founding and some of its greatest kings and leaders.  Contained within these walls is truly a melting pot of cultures and species, all moving forward together but divided perhaps over just where they're going.