About Istanbul

Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul) is Turkey’s most populous city, and its cultural and financial center. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally. Istanbul’s population is estimated to be between 12 and 19 million people, making it also one of the largest cities in Europe and Western Asia.

The former capital of three successive empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman, Istanbul today honors and preserves the legacy of its past while looking forward to a modern future.

It is Istanbul’s endless variety that fascinates visitors. The museums, churches, palaces, grand mosques, bazaars and sights of natural beauty seem innumerable.

Reclining on the western shore of the Bosphorus at sunset contemplating the red evening light reflected in the windows of the opposite shore, you may suddenly understand why so many centuries ago settlers chose to build on this remarkable site. At such times you can see why Istanbul is truly one of the most glorious cities in the world.


To the north of Kadiköy is Haydarpasa, and the train station built in 1908 with Prussian-style architecture which was the first stop along the Baghdad railway. Now it is the main station going to eastbound destinations both within Turkey, and international. There are...



Kadıköy is a lively area on the Asian side of İstanbul with up-market shopping, eating and entertainment making it popular among wealthy locals and Istanbul's youth. With its numerous cinemas, cafés and bookshops it is also the cultural centre of the Anatolian side of...


Relatively unknown to tourists, the suburb of Üsküdar, on the Asian side of the İstanbul strait, is one of the most attractive suburbs. Religiously conservative in its background, it has a tranquil atmosphere and some fine examples of imperial and domestic...


The first sight of Sarıyer is where the İstanbul strait connects with the Black Sea, after the bend in the river after Tarabya. Around this area, old summer houses, embassies and fish restaurants line the river, and a narrow road which separates it from Büyükdere,...



Many places of tourist interest are concentrated in Sultanahmet, the heart of the Imperial Centre of the Ottoman Empire. The most important places in this area, all of which are described in detail in the “Places of Interest” section, are Topkapı Palace, Aya Sofya,...

Golden Horn

This horn-shaped estuary divides European İstanbul. One of the best natural harbours in the world, it was once the centre for the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests. Today, attractive parks and promenades line the shores, a picturesque...

Beyoğlu and Taksim

Taksim and Beyoğlu have for centuries been the centre of nightlife, and now there are many lovely bars and clubs off Istiklal Cadesi, including some of the only gay venues in the city. Beyoğlu is also at the centre of the more bohemian arts scene. Beyoğlu is an...


The city has been conquered, fought over and rebuilt many times over the centuries. İstanbul’s history dates back to the first settlement, possibly in the 13th Century BC, although it was founded by Byzas the Megarian in the 7th Century BC, who also gave the city its...

Istanbul by boat

When Istanbul's heat, humidity and smog become too much to bear, cheap and easy relief is only a walk downhill to the ferry docks. It's almost always 20 degrees cooler on the water, and the views of the city's famous Sultanahmet and Galata districts, especially at...


Forget the stereotypical Istanbul image of a city of 1001 Nights situated in the desert amidst date palms. Despite its fairly southerly latitude (which is about the same as Naples or Barcelona), it snows in this city - a lot occasionally. Some winters go by only with...

clear sky
humidity: 79%
wind: 4m/s NNE
H 25 • L 24
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