I was looking for something else when I came across this description of Istanbul, by Jason Goodwin.
Slowly the Stamboul shore of the Golden Horn came into view, a procession of domes and minarets which surged forwards, one by one, and then modestly retired. Below the domes, cascading down to the busy waterfront, the roofs of Istanbul were glowing red and orange in the first sunlight. This was the panorama that visitors always admired: Constantinople, Istanbul, city of patriarchs and sultans, the busy kaleidoscope of the gorgeous east, the pride of fifteen centuries.
The disappointment came later.