Just as it is hard to classify which continent Turkey "belongs" to, the same can be said for Istanbul. If we were to use a cliché, and admittedly using those is a guilty pleasure of ours, it could be said that no other city quite can quite lay claim to the description of "one foot in the east, one foot in the west". This is quite literally the city that bridges the two. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and with a population nearing 14 million one of the largest cities in the world. And in whatever continent it belongs to.
Istanbul has a long history as being one of the most significant cities in the world, thanks largely to its strategic location along the Silk Road and the Bosphorus, connecting the Black Sea and Mediterranean. Originally the city was founded in 660 BC as the ancient Greek city Byzantium, to be conquered by Roman forces hundreds of years later and to eventually be renamed Constantinople (after Roman Emperor Constantine I) in 330 AD. In 1453 the city was overrun by Ottoman forces, was renamed Istanbul and became the capital of the last caliphate. Although the city has been the capital of many empires, nowadays Turkey's capital sits in Ankara. But the sights around the city are a reminder of its impressive past.
The absolute must-see attractions in Istanbul are the Aya Sofya, Tokkapi Palace and Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque). These are all located in Sultanahmet or the old town of the city. [Review by travelindicator]
- Istanbul is a city in Turkey. It has a population of 13,854,740, is situated at an altitude of 121ft and the best airport to fly into is IST (Ataturk, Istanbul)
- The currency used in Turkey is the Turkish lira (TRY)
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