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Istanbul: meeting point between east and west

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Istanbul is the most important city in Turkey. This city is in fact the main economic and cultural pole of the state, as well as being the most populated city in the country and the main tourist destination. Thanks to its geographical position and its history, Istanbul represents a meeting point between east and west. The city is located along the Bosporus and extends on both sides of the strait. The ancient city has its heart in the European part, while the modern suburbs extend mostly in the Asian part.


Istanbul was founded by Greek colonists in the 7th century BC. with the name of Byzantium, on the promontory between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara. The city, located in a highly strategic position, had a rapid development both in Greek and Roman times. During the rule of the Roman emperor Constantine, in 330 AD became the capital of the Roman Empire, changing its name to that of Constantinople. In this period it was embellished with sumptuous palaces and surrounded by mighty defensive walls.

In 395 AD with the division of the Roman Empire, Constantinople became the capital of the eastern part of the Roman Empire, the so-called Byzantine Empire. It remained the capital of the Byzantine Empire for over a thousand years (395–1204 and 1261–1453). Between 1204 and 1261, following the fourth crusade, the city was the capital of the Latin Empire. On May 29, 1453, after an 8-week siege, Constantinople fell under the power of the troops of the Ottoman sultan Muhammad II, becoming, with the name of Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Modern metropolis and commercial capital of Turkey. Istanbul has in the past been the center of some of the most important empires in history: the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Passed to history first as Byzantium and then as Constantinople, it assumed the current name of Istanbul with the Islamic conquest of 1453.


The current city can be divided into three distinct parts. The oldest part of the city is located on the promontory between the Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea. While between the Golden Horn and the Bosporus there is the modern district of Beyoglu. On the Asian side, is finally the commercial suburb of Uskudar (Shkoder).

The city has wonderful remains of its ancient past: among the most spectacular monuments, churches, mosques, castles and palaces we find: the cathedral of Saint Sophia, the wonderful Topkapi palace where the Ottoman sultans resided, the mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Rustem Pasa mosque, the Blue Mosque, the Kahriye Camii church – famous for its mosaics -, the castles of Anadolu and Rumeli. Among the many museums to visit are: the Menagerie Museum (Topkapi), the Archaeological Museum, the Mosaic Museum and the Museum of the Ancient Orient.

The climate of Istanbul.

Official website of the Istanbul City Hall.



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