Istanbul at a Glance
Istanbul; the world’s one of the most ancient metropolis with its rich history and wonderful nature. With its 8.500 years of history, İstanbul is the former capital of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Separated to two continents, Asian and European, the city is an ideal example of the natural beauty.
The Past, the Present and the Future
Byzantium, Agusta Antonina, Dersaadet, Asitane, Constantinople, Konstantiniye… Istanbul had many different names and hosted many different cultures during its history. The name was officially changed to Istanbul in 1930. Istanbul is famous as one of the most frequently besieged cities in the world. Before being conquered by the Turks, its assailants included the Persian Darius (513 BC) the Athenian Alcibiades (408 BC) the Macedonian Philip II, the Arabs, the Bulgarians and the armies of the Fourth Crusade. Istanbul has been home to various cultures since at least the Neolithic Period. According to records, the city have been founded in the 7 BC by colonists from Megara, led by the legendary Byzas. Once settled by Byzantines and took the name of Byzantium, the city became the supreme trade and commerce center. In 330 AD, Constantine I allowed the public practice of the Christianity and consequently the city became the symbol of Christian triump. Until 1453, Turks had already tried to conquer Constantinople four times but it was Mehmet II –who took the title of “Fatih” which means conqueror after the victory- who realized this Ottoman dream. After two years of preparations, the siege started on April 6 and continued during 53 days. Mehmet II took his ships to the Golden Horn by pulling them on oily wood pieces and surprised the Byzantine army. Once taken by Turks in 1453; Constantinople became the Ottoman Empire’s capital until 1923, when the founder of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara. In the early years of the republic Ankara took precedence over Istanbul but between 1940 and 1950 the city regained its importance via a great structural change. New public squares such as Taksim Square, boulevards and avenues are constructed all around the city. Starting from the 1970s, with the undeniable effect of migrations from Anatolia, the city’s population began to rapidly increase. The fact that the city hosted different civilizations and life styles throughout its history transformed Istanbul a one big metropolis embracing multiculturalism and appreciating the beauty of different praxis. Today, 20 percent of Turkey’s industrial labor and 38 percent of industrial workspace are provided by İstanbul which places the city in a central position for Turkey’s economic life. The city is also the country’s art center with international fairs, film, music and theater festival, museums, art galleries, exhibitions and sports organizations like İstanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture and İstanbul 2012 European Capital of Sport. Easy accessibility with two international airports, numerous meeting and convention facilities, superior accommodation choices… 21th century’s İstanbul is the world’s one of the most important metropolises.
Istanbul is a transcontinental city straddling two continents by its inland sea Marmara. The city is divided into four regions and has a natural harbor, the Golden Horn. One of the world’s busiest waterways, the Bosphorus, is situated in northwestern Turkey between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Connecting the two seas, Bosphorus also separates Istanbul to two sides known as European side and Asian side.
Istanbul is the financial capital of Turkey because of its strategical location. The city generates almost 40 percent of Turkey’s GDP and its annual contribution to the state budget is about 40 percent. As the country’s largest industrial center, approximately 20 percent of the country’s industrial labor is employed in Istanbul. Some of the city’s main industrial products are food processing, textile production, oil products and alcoholic drinks. Istanbul is also the most important export gate of Turkey with respectively 36% of Turkey’s total exportation activity
Istanbul is the largest populated city of Turkey with a population of 15.1 million. As one of the largest urban agglomerations in Europe, Istanbul is one of the world’s largest cities by population. Istanbul has 39 districts administered by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. The city boundaries cover a surface area of 1830 square kilometers (707 mi²) and Istanbul Province covers 6220 square kilometers (2402 mi²).
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