Levant is traditionally the designated eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea: '..where the sun rises'. The origin of the word lies in the French 'se lever', which means 'to get up'. The Europeans who settled in this vast area (Libanon, Syria and Turkey) were called Levantine.
The cosmopolitan Istanbul housed a very large Levantine community. This had a very big impact on the culture in the city: architecture, arts, music, social live and not to mention the gastronomy.