About Istanbul


No doubt: Istanbul is a unique city. Because it is the only city on the world that is located on two continents. In other words, Istanbul is a bridge between Europe and Asia. The city embodies mystery, history, intrigue, glamour and contemporary attraction all at once. It is always a nice surprise to find so many museums, palaces, great mosques and bazaars as well as stunning natural beauty. You have to experience one sunset at the Bosphorus to understand why the city had and has so many admirers.

Istanbul is the largest city in the Republic of Turkey. It covers a total area of 5712 km² including the Princes Islands. After London and Moscow, Istanbul is the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe.
For centuries, since the days of the famous Silk Road, Istanbul has always been the junction of international land and sea trade routes.

The city was conquered by Mehmet II in 1453 when it was the center of the Byzantine Empire. Thus, Istanbul became the capital city of the Ottoman Empire in 1453. After the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the capital of Turkey became Ankara.

Today, the historic peninsula of the city is said to be built on seven hills, each indicated by an imperial mosque.

For foreigners and also locals, one of the most important things to do in Istanbul is definitely shopping.  Here you can find always a large selection of many items such as textiles and handcrafts for pretty moderate prices for their quality. There are so many historic shopping centers, such as the Grand Bazaar (1461), Mahmutpasa Bazaar (1462) and the Egyptian Bazaar (1660). Then also the modern shopping malls are numerous. In Galleria Atakoy, Akmerkez, Metrocity, Cevahir Mall, Kanyon Mall, İstinye Park and City’s Nisantasi aim to reach consumers and are also providing a selection up to world-famous fashion brands.


Food is varied and exquisite combining unique tastes of European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. The Turkish Kitchen uses a lot of fresh vegetables as well as meat and spices. Fish caught from the Black Sea or the Mediterranean taste also unique.

Istanbul winters are warm and wet, summers hot and dry. Warm Mediterranean winds which counter frequent Black Sea cold fronts shape the climate in the city. Temperatures change moderately between day and night, and from season to season. The summer season lasts approximately 90 days long, while winters continue approx.  80 days. It snows in Istanbul yearly about 7 days.


Istanbul has two international airports: Ataturk International Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side. Both are about 20 kilometers from the city center. The access to and from the city is quite easy via public and private transportation means.

Sea transport

Sea transport is vital for Istanbul, as the city is practically surrounded by sea on all sides: the Sea of Marmara, the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. Many Istanbul people use daily the commuter ferries, boats and the high speed sea busses.


The State Road D.100 and the European route E80, the Trans European Motorway (TEM) are the two main motorway connections between Europe and Turkey. The motorway network around Istanbul is well developed and is constantly being extended. There are also two express highways circling the city.
The Bosphorus Bridge (1973) and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (1988) establish the motorway connection between the European and the Asian sides of the Bosphorus.
Istanbul is served by two underground funicular railways, of very different ages and styles.
The Istanbul LRT is a light rail transit system consisting of 2 lines.
The total length of the Istanbul Metro  on the European side will reach soon 18.36 km (11.4 mi) when all 16 stations from Haciosman to Yenikapi will be completed. The trip between the sishane station in Beyoğlu and the Ataturk Oto Sanayi station in Maslak is 15.65 km (9.7 mi) long and takes about 21 minutes.
Istanbul’s public transportation is also largely provided by bus rapid transit (known as metrobus in Turkey) that runs throughout the city. It is a system of designated roads only for special buses.

Colors of Istanbul

Istanbul is becoming increasingly colourful in terms of its rich social, cultural, and commercial activities. While world famous pop stars fill stadiums, activities like opera, ballet and theatre continue throughout the year. You can enjoy often concerts by world famous orchestras, chorale ensembles, and jazz legends that play and sing to a full house. Also the Istanbul International Film Festival and the the Istanbul Biennial of fine arts are pioneering events in Europe every year. Istanbul is also the most important city in Turkey, possessing a number of universities, high schools, libraries and cultural centers.

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