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Province Istanbul
Area 1,538,77 km²
Population density 6521 inh./km²
Elevation 100 m
Coordinates 41°00′ N 29°00′ E
Postal code 34010 to 34850 and
80000 to 81800
Area code (+90) 212 (European side)
(+90) 216 (Asian side)
Licence plate code 34
Mayor Kadir Topbaş (Justice and Development Party)
Website Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul, Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολη / Konstandinúpoli, historically known in English as Constantinople; see other names) is Turkey's most populous city, and its cultural and financial center. The city is the capital of the Province of Istanbul. It is located at 41° N 28° E, on the Bosphorus strait, and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn (Turkish: Haliç), in the northwest of the country. Istanbul extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) side of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world which is situated on two continents. Istanbul is also the only city in the world which served as the capital to three different Empires: The Roman Empire (330-395), Byzantine Empire (395-1453) and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1923). In 1923, following the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, Ankara became the capital of the new state. The city was chosen as joint European Capital of Culture for 2010. The "Historic Areas of Istanbul" were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.




Further information: Names of Istanbul

The city has had many names through its history and according to the culture, language and religion of its rulers. Byzantium, Constantinople and Stamboul are examples that may still be found in active use. The etymology of the names and an extended list of old names can be found under Names of Istanbul. It has also been nicknamed "The City on Seven Hills" because the historic peninsula (the oldest part of the city) was built on seven hills, also represented with seven mosques, one at the top of each hill.[1]





Byzantium was originally settled by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas. The city was established in Sarayburnu area[2]. After siding with Pescennius Niger against the victorious Septimius Severus the city was besieged by Rome and suffered extensive damage in AD 196. Byzantium was rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus and quickly regained its previous prosperity.


Byzantine Empire

An artist's impression of Constantinople
An artist's impression of Constantinople

The location of Byzantium attracted Constantine the Great and in 330 after a prophetic dream was said to have identified the location of the city. Constantinople became the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The combination of imperialism and location would play an important role as the crossing point between two continents (Europe and Asia), and later a magnet for Africa and others as well, in terms of commerce, culture, diplomacy, and strategy. It was the center of the Greek world and for most of the Byzantine period, the largest city in Europe. It was captured and sacked by the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and then re-captured by Nicaean forces under the command of Michael VIII Palaeologus in 1261. With the fall of Rome and the Western Roman Empire, the name of the city was changed to Constantinople and became the sole capital of what historians now call the Byzantine Empire. This empire was distinctly Greek in culture, and became the centre of Greek Orthodox Christianity after an earlier split with Rome, and was adorned with many magnificent churches, including Hagia Sophia, once the world's largest cathedral. The seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, remains.


Ottoman Empire

Panoramic view of the City, 1870s

On 29 May 1453, Sultan Mehmet II “the Conqueror”, entered Constantinople after a 53–day siege during which his cannon had torn a huge hole in the Walls of Theodosius II. Istanbul became the third capital of the Ottoman Empire in 1453. The Grand Bazaar and Topkapı Palace were erected in the years following the Turkish conquest. Religious foundations were endowed to fund the building of mosques such as the Fatih and their associated schools and public baths. The city had to be repopulated by a mixture of force and encouragement. People from all over the empire moved to Istanbul, and Jews, Christians and Muslims lived together in a cosmopolitan society.

Süleyman’s reign was a time of great artistic and architectural achievements. The architect Sinan designed many mosques and other great buildings in the city, while Ottoman arts of ceramics and calligraphy also flourished. Sufi orders which were so widespread in the Islamic world and who had many followers who had actively participated in the conquest of the city came to settle in the capital. During Ottoman times over 100 Tekkes were active in the city alone.

Many of these Tekkes survive to this day some in the form of mosques while others as museums such as the Jerrahi Tekke in Fatih, the Sunbul Effendi and Ramazan Effendi Mosque and Turbes also in Fatih, the Galata Mevlevihane in Beyoğlu, the Yahya Effendi Tekke in Beşiktaş, and the Bektashi Tekke in Kadıköy, which now serves Alevi Muslims as a Cem Evi.

The city was modernized from the 1870s onwards with the building of bridges, the creation of a proper water system, the use of electric lights, and the introduction of streetcars and telephones.


Republic of Turkey

When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved from Istanbul to Ankara. The city's name Constantinople had remained, in the form Konstantiniyye, through the Ottoman Empire. Outside the Empire, it was often known as Stambul or Stamboul. A decree was passed in 1930 and ordered that from then on only the name of "Istanbul" would be used in official documents.

In the early years of the republic, Istanbul was overlooked in favour of the new capital Ankara but, during the 1950s and 1960s, Istanbul underwent great structural change. The city's once numerous and prosperous Greek community, remnants of the city's Greek origins, dwindled in the aftermath of the 1955 Istanbul Pogrom with most Greeks in Turkey leaving their homes for Greece.

In the 1950s the government of Adnan Menderes sought to develop the country as a whole and new roads and factories were constructed throughout the country. Wide modern roads were built in Istanbul but some, unfortunately, were at the expense of historical buildings within the city.

During the 1970s the population of Istanbul began to speed rapidly increase as people from Anatolia migrated to the city to find employment in the many new factories that were constructed on the outskirts of the city. This sudden sharp increase in the population caused a rapid rise in housing development (some of poor quality resulting in great death and injury during the frequent earthquakes that hit the city) and many previously outlying villages became engulfed into the greater metropolis of Istanbul. Many Turks who have lived in Istanbul for over 30 or more years can still recollect how areas such as large parts of Maltepe, Kartal, Pendik, and others were green fields when they were young. Other areas such as Tuzla were nothing more than sleepy villages.



City is in the Marmara Region. It encloses the southern Bosporus which puts the city on two continents – the western portion of Istanbul is in Europe, while the eastern portion is in Asia. The city boundaries cover a surface of 1,539 square kilometers. The Metropol region, or the province of Istanbul, has an area of 6,220 square kilometers.



Winters are usually snowy in Istanbul
Winters are usually snowy in Istanbul

The city has a temperate-continental climate, with hot and humid summers with cold, rainy and sometimes snowy winters. Humidity is often rather high which can make temperatures feel much warmer or colder than they actually are. Yearly precipitation for Istanbul averages 870 mm. Snowfall is quite common, snowing for a week or two during the winter season, but it can be heavy once it snows. It is most likely to occur between the months of December and March. The summer months of June through September bring average daytime temperatures of 28 °C (82 °F). The warmest month is July with on the average 23.2 degrees Celsius, coldest January with 5.4 degrees Celsius on the average. The weather becomes slightly cooler as one moves toward eastern Istanbul. Summer is by far the driest season, although there is no real summer drought such as occurs further west. The city is quite windy, having an average wind speed of 17 km/h (11 mph).



Satellite photo over Istanbul and the Bosphorus
Satellite photo over Istanbul and the Bosphorus

Istanbul is situated near the North Anatolian fault line, which runs from the northern Anatolia to the Marmara Sea. Two tectonic plates, the African and the Eurasian, push together here. This fault line has been responsible for several deadly earthquakes in the region in contemporary history. In 1509, a catastrophic quake caused a tsunami which broke over the sea-walls of the city destroying over 100 mosques and killing 10,000 people. In 1766, the Eyüp mosque was completely destroyed. The 1894 quake collapsed many parts of covered bazaar in Istanbul. A devastating quake in August 1999 in Kocaeli left 18,000 dead and in the winter of 2001 in the province of Afyon 41 people died.[3] [4] In all of these earthquakes, the devastating effects are a result of the close settlement and poor construction of buildings. Earth scientists prognosticate another quake, possibly measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, occurring before 2025.[5]





The city has many architecturally significant entities, please see the List of architectural structures in Istanbul. Throughout its long history, Istanbul has acquired a reputation for being a cultural and ethnic melting pot. As a result, there are many historical mosques, churches, synagogues, and palaces to visit in the city.

Due to Istanbul's exponential growth during the second half of the 20th century, a significant portion of the city's outskirts consist of gecekondus, a Turkish word created in the 1940s meaning ‘built overnight’ and refers to the illegally constructed squatter buildings that comprise entire neighbourhoods and run rampant outside the historic centers of Turkey’s largest cities, especially Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, and Bursa. According to the official definition stated in the Gecekondu Act of 1966, these neighbourhoods are typically built on abandoned land or on lands owned by others, without the permission of the landowner, and do not obey building codes and regulations. At present, gecekondu areas are being gradually demolished and replaced by modern mass-housing compounds such as My World, Incity, Uphill Court and similar projects developed by the state-owned TOKI



Traditional waterfront houses, called yalı, can be seen during boat tours along the Bosphorus
Traditional waterfront houses, called yalı, can be seen during boat tours along the Bosphorus

The urban landscape is constantly changing. Traditionally Ottoman buildings were built of wood. In the last decades, numerous tall structures were built around the city to accommodate a rapid growth in population. Surrounding towns were absorbed into Istanbul as the city expanded rapidly outwards.

Bosphorus was regarded as a summer resort with the Ottoman period and the traditional wooden buildings called Yalı was their choice. Most of the development happened during the Tulip Period, a period that is best represented by the Sadullah Paşa Yalısı (1783). The wooden seaside mansions retained their basic architectural principles until the middle of the 19th century, when they were gradually replaced by less flammable brick houses especially during the first constitutional period. The development of Yalıs lasted until WWI.

Highrise office and residential buildings are mostly located on the northern areas of the European side, and especially in the business and shopping districts of Levent, Maslak and Etiler which are located between the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.


Public spaces

The pedestrian Istiklal Avenue is famous for its art galleries, theaters, cafés and pubs
The pedestrian Istiklal Avenue is famous for its art galleries, theaters, cafés and pubs

A significant culture has been developed around what is known as a Turkish bath (Hamam). It was a culture of leisure at the Ottoman Empire, see: Süleymaniye hamam. The Grand Bazaar is one of the best known bazaars. Grand Bazaar established by Mehmet the Conqueror and extended by Suleyman the Magnificent.





As of 2007, the metropolitan mayor of Istanbul is Kadir Topbaş, see: Mayors. Istanbul is a home rule city[6] and municipal elections are mainly partisan. The metropolitan model of governance has been used with the establishment of metropolitan administration in 1930. The metropolitan council is accepted as the competent authority for decision-making. The metropolitan government structure consists of three main organs: (1) The Metropolitan Mayor (elected every five years) (2) The Metropolitan Council (decision making body with the mayor, district Mayors, and one fifth of the district municipal councilors) (3) The metropolitan executive committee. Local authorities are three types: (1) municipalities, (2) special provincial administrations and (3) village administrations. Among the local authorities, municipalities are gaining greater importance with the rise in urbanization.



Istanbul has 31 districts. However these can be divided into three main areas: the historic peninsula, North of the Golden Horn, and the Asian side.

The Historic Peninsula of old İstanbul comprises the districts of Eminönü and Fatih. This area lies on the southern shores of the Golden Horn which separates the old city center from the northern and younger parts of the European side. The Historic Peninsula ends with the Theodosian Land Walls in the west. The peninsula is surrounded by the Sea of Marmara on the south and the Bosphorus on the east.

North of the Golden Horn are the historical Beyoğlu and Beşiktaş districts, where the last Sultan's palace is located, followed by a chain of former villages such as Ortaköy and Bebek along the shores of the Bosphorus. On both the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus, wealthy Istanbulites built luxurious chalet mansions, called yalı, which were used as summer residences.

The quarters of Üsküdar and Kadıköy which are located on the Asian side were originally independent cities, like Pera also used to be. Today they are full of modern residential areas and business districts, and are home to around one-third of Istanbul's population.



Further information: Historical population values and Demographics of Turkey

The population of the metropolis more than tripled during the 25 years between 1980 and 2005. Roughly 70% of all Istanbulites live in the European section and around 30% in the Asian section. The graph shows the numbers of inhabitants by year. The doubling of the population of Istanbul between 1980 and 1985 is due to a natural increase in population as well as the expansion of municipal limits.

According to the 2000 census, the population is 8,803,468 (city proper) and 10,018,735 (metro area). The census bureau estimate for July 20, 2005 is 11,322,000 for the province, which is generally considered as the metropolitan area, making it one of the twenty largest metropolitan areas in the world.



Hagia Sophia Museum
Hagia Sophia Museum
Further information: Synagogues, Mosques, Churches

The urban landscape of Istanbul is shaped by many communities. The most important and most populous major religion is Islam. Religious minorities include Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Christians, and Sephardic Jews. Small boroughs are inhabited by ethnic Armenians, Jews, and Greeks. In some quarters, such as Kuzguncuk, an Armenian Church sits next to a synagogue, and on the other side of the road a Greek-Orthodox church is found beside a mosque. The seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church is in Istanbul. Also based here are the archbishop of the Turkish-Orthodox community, an Armenian archbishop, and the Turkish Grand-Rabbi.

Chora Church (Kariye Müzesi)
Chora Church (Kariye Müzesi)

The population of the Armenian and Greek minorities in Istanbul greatly declined beginning in the late 19th century. The city's Greek Orthodox communtiy were exempted from the population exchange between Greece and Turkey of 1923. However a series of special restrictions and taxes beginning in the 1930s (see, e.g., Varlik Vergisi), finally culminating in the Istanbul Pogrom of 1955, greatly increased emigration, and in 1964, all Greeks without Turkish citizenship residing in Turkey (around 100,000) were deported. Today, most of Turkey's remaining Greek and Armenian minorities live in or near Istanbul. Beside the Levantines, who are the descendants of European traders who had started trading outposts in the Ottoman Empire, there is also a small, scattered number of Bosphorus Germans. A number of places reflect past movements of different peoples into Istanbul, most notably Arnavutköy (Albanian village), Polonezköy (Polish village) and Yeni Bosna (New Bosnia).

The Sephardic Jews have lived in the city for over 500 years, see History of the Jews in Turkey. They fled in 1492 from the Iberian Peninsula, when they were forced to convert to Christianity after the fall of the Moorish Kingdom of Andalucia. Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (1481-1512) sent a sizable fleet to Spain in order to save the Sephardic Jews. More than 200,000 fled first to Tangier, Algiers, Genova and Marseille, later to Salonica and finally to Istanbul. The Sultan granted over 93,000 of these Spanish Jews to take refuge in the Ottoman Empire. In Istanbul more than 20,000 Sephardic Jews still remain today. Altogether 20 synagoges are to be found in the city, the most important of them being the Neve Shalom Synagogue inaugurated in 1951, in the Beyoğlu quarter. The Turkish Grand Rabbi in Istanbul (currently Ishak Haleva) presides over community affairs.



Istanbul, compared to other major cities of Europe and Asia, does not have high crime levels. The overwhelming majority of crime is non-violent in nature. There are remarkably few assaults or robberies in which guns or knives are used [7]. Pickpockets work in tourist areas, particularly around Taksim Square and the Galata Tower.

In November 2003 al Qaida-affiliated suicide bombers blew up the British Consulate, the HSBC Bank, and two synagogues, killing dozens and wounding hundreds of people. These incidents represent a significant change from prior attacks in Turkey and show an increased willingness on the part of terrorists to attack Western targets[8]. Small-scale bombings and violent demonstrations have occurred regularly throughout 2005 and 2006 [9]. PKK/KADEK/Kongra-Gel supporters, on a number of occasions, have set public buses on fire after ordering passengers to disembark [10]. While the threat of terrorism remains high in Istanbul as most Western cities, the most significant threat to safety comes from vehicular accidents[11].



Skyline of Levent business district at night
Skyline of Levent business district at night

Historically, Istanbul has been the center of the country's economic life due to its location as an international junction of land and sea trade routes. Income distribution is not normal in Istanbul, such that 20% of the high income section uses 64% of the resources and 20% of the low income section uses 4% of the resources (based on 1994 statistics)[12]. The change in Istanbul's living standards reflects directly to the nations statistics as the 27.5% share of the consumption in Turkey is performed by the Istanbul.



Today, Istanbul is the "industrial center" of Turkey.

It employs approximately 20% of Turkey's industrial labor and contributes 38% of Turkey's industrial workspace. In addition, the city generates 55% of Turkey's trade and 45% of the country's wholesale trade, and generates 21.2% of Turkey's gross national product. Istanbul contributes 40% of all taxes collected in Turkey and produces 27.5% of Turkey's national product.

Many of Turkey's major manufacturing plants are located in the city. Istanbul and its surrounding province produce cotton, fruit, olive oil, silk, and tobacco. Food processing, textile production, oil products, rubber, metal ware, leather, chemicals, electronics, glass, machinery, paper and paper products and alcoholic drinks are among the city's major industrial products. The city also has plants that assemble automobiles and trucks.

Pharmaceutical industry started in 1952 with the establishment of "Eczacýbasi Pharmaceutical Factory" in Levent, Istanbul[13]. Today, 134 companies operate in the pharmaceutical industry, which significant part is within the city[14].

The earthquake that centered in Kocaeli on August 17th, 1999 constituted the second large economic shock for the city from the east after the crisis in Russia. Apart from the capital and human losses caused by the disaster, a decrease in GDP of approximately two percent occurred. Despite these economic downturns, Istanbul's economy has improved in recent years.


Financial Sector

Skyline of Maslak financial district at sunset
Skyline of Maslak financial district at sunset

Today, Istanbul is the "financial capital" of Turkey.

In the late 1990s, the economy of Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, suffered two major shocks. First, the Asian financial crisis between July 1997 and the beginning of 1998, as well as the crisis in Russia between August 1998 and the middle of 1999 had negative effects in all areas of the economy, particularly among exports. Following this, a slow reorganization of the economy of Istanbul was observed in the beginning and middle of 1999.

The financial capital was established by opening of specific markets in the city. Inaugurated at the beginning of 1986, the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) is the sole securities market of Turkey established to provide trading in equities, right coupons, Government bonds, Treasury bills, revenue sharing certificates, bonds issued by the Privatization Administration and corporate bonds and to carry out overnight transactions [15]. In 1993 the ISE decided on gold market liberalization. In 1995, Istanbul Gold Exchange was formed, which ended the gold bullion imports monopoly of the Central Bank and transferred it to the private sector members of the gold exchange [16].



Today, Istanbul is one of the most important Tourism spots of Turkey. There are thousands of hotels and other tourist oriented industries in Istanbul catering to both vacationers and visiting professionals.

It is also one of the world’s most exciting conference destinations and is an increasingly popular choice for the world’s leading international associations. [17]. Istanbul’s conference appeal developed with three separate conference and exhibition areas: The Conference Valley (Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Center, the Istanbul Hilton Convention & Exhibition Center, Military Museum Cultural Center and the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall), The Airport & Exhibition District (150,000 m2 (1.6 m sq ft) of exhibition space with the CNR International Expo Center in the center) and the Business & Financial District (many distributed centers). These cluster areas feature a combination of accommodations, meeting facilities, and exhibition space. They can be used individually or transportation with the Istanbul metro, linked together for events with 10,000 or more participants.





Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern

The first water supply systems to be built in Istanbul date back to the foundation of the city. Two great aqueducts built in Roman times are the Mazulkemer and the Valens aqueduct in order to channel water from the Halkalı area to Beyazit[18]. Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent commissioned Sinan, his engineer and architect-in-chief, to improve the water needs of the city. Sinan constructed the Kırkçeşme Water Supply Systemin 1555[19]. The later years, in order to meet public demand, water from various springs was channeled to the public fountains by means of small supply lines, see German Fountain.

Today, Istanbul has a chlorinated and filtered water supply and a sewage disposal system managed by the government agency ISKI[20]. Current level of facilities are not sufficient to meet the needs of the the city. Water supply becomes a problem particularly in the summer. Most of the hotels and residential areas have their own water supply tanks, which acts as a buffer during the problem periods. One can find private organizations distributing clean water. Electricity is covered by TEK.

Infrastructure successes since the mid 1990s include the resolution of the garbage problem, improved traffic conditions and improved air quality due to the increased use of natural gas.


Health and medicine

The city has many hospitals within its bounds and a number of medical research facilities. The city also has a Veterans hospital in, the military medical center.

Pollution related health problems takes important part, especially when the combustion of heating fuels increase the particulate density in winter. Increased car ownership, in the city and the slow development of public transportation cause frequent urban smog conditions. Mandatory use of unleaded gas was scheduled to begin only in January 2006[21]..

Nevertheless, air and water pollution created by the numerous factories, motor vehicles and private households as well as noise pollution generated by traffic continue to concern the population of Istanbul. Diseases such as bronchitis and asthma are far more common among the inhabitants of the city's gecekondu areas largely because of the proximity of these poorer, densely populated areas to industry.



İstanbul rail transit map
İstanbul rail transit map

Istanbul has two international airports: The larger is Atatürk International, in Yeşilköy, 24 kilometers from the city center which used to be at the edge of the European part but is now inside the city, the more modern is the airport Sabiha Gökçen Airport, 20 kilometers east of the Asiatic side and 45 kilometers east of the European city centre.

The Sirkeci Terminal of the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) is the terminating point of all the lines on the European side and the main connection node of the Turkish railway network with the rest of Europe. Currently, international connections are provided by the line running between Istanbul and Thessaloniki, Greece, and the Bosphorus Express serving daily between Sirkeci and Gara de Nord in Bucharest, Romania. Lines to Sofia, Belgrade, Budapest, and Chişinău are established over the Bosphorus Express connection to Bucharest.

Beyond the Bosphorus, the Haydarpaşa Terminal on the Asian side serves lines running several times daily to Ankara, and less frequently to other destinations in Anatolia. The railway networks on the European and Asian sides are currently connected by train ferry across the Bosphorus, which will be replaced by an underwater tunnel connection with the completion of the Marmaray project, expected in 2009, also connecting the metro system.

The E5, E90 and Trans European Motorway (TEM) are the three main motorway connections leading from Europe into Turkey. The motorway network around Istanbul is well developed and is constantly being extended. Motorways lead to Ankara and Edirne. There are also 2 express highways circling the city. The older one called E5 is mostly used for inner city traffic while the more recent TEM highway is mostly used by intercity or intercontinental traffic. The Bosphorus Bridge and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge establish the motorway connection between the European and the Asian sides of the Boshporus.

The port of Istanbul is the most important in the country. The old port at the Golden Horn serves primarily for personal navigation. Regular services as well as cruises exist to several ports such as Pireaus (Greece) and Greek islands, Dubrovnik (Croatia), Venice, Naples (Italy), Marseille (France), Haifa (Israel) in the Mediterranean Sea, and also Odessa (Ukraine) in Black Sea.


Life in the city

Cultural activity, tourism and commerce are expected to remain important in the life of the city. However, major challenges are its demographic growth, traffic congestion, disorganized housing construction, the restoration of historic buildings and planning a 3rd motorway transition to the Bosphorus. Daily life in Istanbul is colorful and vibrant and continues side by side with many carefully protected Roman, Byzantine and Turkish monuments. Istanbul is often considered the capital of Turkey in terms of commerce, entertainment, culture, education, shopping, tourism and art. More than half the population lives and works on the European side. The large number of people living in the residential areas on the Anatolian side use bridges and ferries to commute to work in a city that has been the most popular stop for voyagers throughout history.


Art & Culture

View through Taksim Square, the heart of Istanbul
View through Taksim Square, the heart of Istanbul

Istanbul is becoming increasingly colorful 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. During seasonal festivals world famous orchestras, chorale ensembles, concerts and jazz legends can be found often playing to a full house. Shows are hosted at a number of locations including historical sites such as Hagia Irene, Rumeli Fortress, Yedikule, the courtyard of Topkapı Palace, and Gülhane Park; as well as the Atatürk Cultural Center, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall and other open air and modern theater halls. For those who enjoy night life, there are many night clubs, pubs, restaurants and taverns with live music. The night clubs, restaurants and bars increase in number and move to open air spaces in the summer. The areas around Istiklal Avenue and Nişantaşı offer all sorts of cafés, restaurants, pubs and clubs as well as art galleries, theaters and cinemas. Biletix is a useful site to check out the latest concerts, shows, art exhibitions and cultural events in Istanbul.



First Turkish newspaper is printed in 1 August 1831 Takvimi Vekayi at Babali. Babali become the main center for print media. Istanbul is also the print capital of Turkey with a wide variety of domestic and foreign periodicals expressing diverse views, and domestic newspapers are extremely competitive. Most newspapers are based in Istanbul, with simultaneous Ankara and İzmir editions[22]. The headquarters of publisher in includes Hürriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Tercüman, Milli Gazete, Zaman, Yeni Asya, Cumhuriyet. Local Tv stations exists. Local radio stations exists.



If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.

—Alphonse de Lamartine

Armani Café and Gucci on Teşvikiye Avenue in Nişantaşı, the fashion district of Istanbul
Armani Café and Gucci on Teşvikiye Avenue in Nişantaşı, the fashion district of Istanbul

Along with Turkish restaurants, Far Eastern and other cuisines are thriving alongside many newly opened restaurants. There are thousands of alternatives for night life in Istanbul but most popular open air summer time seaside night clubs are found on the Bosphorus, such as Reina and Anjelique in the Ortaköy district. Babylon and Nu Pera in Beyoğlu are popular night clubs both in the summer and in the winter, while The Venue in Maslak often hosts live concerts of famous rock, hard rock and heavy metal bands from all corners of the world. Parkorman in Maslak hosted the Isle of MTV Party in 2002 and is a popular venue for live concerts and rave parties in the summer. Q Jazz Bar in Ortaköy offers live jazz music in a stylish environment.

The most popular places for swimming in the city are in Bakırköy, Küçükçekmece, Sarıyer and the Bosphorus. Outside the city are the Marmara Sea's Princes' Islands, Silivri and Tuzla; as well as Kilyos and Şile on the Black Sea. The Princes' Islands (Prens Adaları) are a group of islands in the Marmara Sea, south of the quarters Kartal and Pendik. Pine and stone-pine wooden neoclassical and art nouveau-style Ottoman era summer mansions from the 19th and early 20th centuries, horse-drawn carriages (motor vehicles are not permitted) and fish restaurants make them a popular trip destination. They can be reached by ferry boats and high-speed ferries (Deniz otobüsü) from Eminönü and Bostancı. Of the nine islands, five are settled. Şile is a distant and well-known Turkish seaside resort on the Black Sea, 50 kilometers from Istanbul. Unspoiled white sand beaches can be found outside of Şile. Kilyos is a small calm seaside resort not far from the northern European entrance of the Bosphorus at the Black Sea. The place has good swimming possibilities and has became popular in the last years among the inhabitants of Istanbul as a place for excursions. Kilyos offers a beach park with (fish) restaurants and discotheques.



Further information: Education in Turkey

Istanbul holds some of the finest institutes of higher education in Turkey, including a number of public and private universities. Most of the reputable universities are public, but in recent years there has also been an upsurge in the number of private universities.There are many universities in the city, please see the List of universities in Istanbul for the total list.

Anadolu Liseleri ("Anatolian Highshools"), originally furnished for the Turkish children returned home from the foreign country, e.g. the Üsküdar Anadolu Lisesi with German as first foreign language and technical instruction on German Professional training-technical resuming schools. Science High schools were established with the aim of providing education to exceptionally gifted mathematics and science students; providing a source for the training of high-level scientists, in order to meet the needs of nation; encouraging students to engage in research activities ;providing facilities for students interested in working on inventions and discoveries; serving as labarotory for procedures to be implemented in the science and mathematics programs of other secondary schools. These schools offer a three-year program with a curriculum which emphasises science and mathematics. The schools have a class-size of 24 , and, in accordance with regulations, are boarding schools. The language of instruction is Turkish. Entrants to science high schools generally achieve the highest scores in the university exams.

Occupation specialized high schools Research institutes The Marmara research center (TÜBİTAK Marmara Araştırma Merkezi - TUBITAK MAM) in Gebze is with approximately 650 researcher inside and researchers the largest non-university research establishment in Turkey. It covers the institutes for information technologies, energy research, food research, chemistry and environmental research, material research, as well as ground connection and sea sciences. A technology park is attached in addition to the research center.

There are many libraries in Istanbul, for the complete listing see List of libraries in Istanbul.



The Atatürk Olympic Stadium is a five-star UEFA and first-class venue for track and field stadium, having reached the highest required standards set by the International Olympic Committee and sports federations such as IAAF, FIFA and UEFA.

Sports like basketball and volleyball are very popular. In addition to Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş, which field teams in multiple sports, other clubs have high profiles in those sports—among them Turkey's most prominent basketball clubs, Efes Pilsen and Fenerbahçe Ülker; and the Eczacıbaşı (Eczacıbaşı) and Vakifbank volleyball clubs. Golf, shooting, riding and tennis gain ever more significance. For Aerobic, bodybuilding and gymnastic equipment, numerous fitness clubs are available. Paintball belonges to the new kinds of sport and is already represented in two large clubs in the proximity of Istanbul. Eastern kinds of sport such as Aikido and Yoga have become more popular in recent years. There are several centers in the city where they can be exercised.



Istanbul is the homeland of many soccer teams; among them are three first division teams: Fenerbahçe SK, Galatasaray SK and Beşiktaş J.K.. Fenerbahçe (1907) have been national champions 16 times since 1959. The club's home games take place in the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in the Kadiköy quarter. Galatasaray (1905) have been 16 times Turkish national champion since 1959 and won the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in the year 2000. Their home base is the Ali Sami Yen Stadium. Beşiktaş is the oldest Turkish sports association (1903).Besiktas have 12 turkish league trophies time. They play home games in the İnönü Stadium in the Beşiktaş district. Istanbulspor (1926) is the fourth biggest football club from Istanbul, now playing in the 2nd division. Despite having Istanbul in its name, Istanbulspor do not have many fans from Istanbul. The yellow-black side plays home games in the Güngören Stadium.


Motor racing

Istanbul hosts Formula One Turkish Grand Prix, MotoGP Grand Prix of Turkey, FIA World Touring Car Championship, GP2 and Le Mans Series 1000 km races at the Istanbul Park.


Air racing

Air racing is very new to the city. On July 29, 2006, İstanbul hosted the 4th round of the spectacular Red Bull Air Race World Series above the Golden Horn


City in popular culture

Istanbul has been featured in numerous artworks, and in digital media such as:

  • Topkapı
  • From Russia with Love
  • The World Is Not Enough
  • The Net 2.0
  • The Accidental Spy
  • Organized jobs
  • Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
  • Telephone Call From Istanbul - Tom Waits
  • "The Gates of Istanbul" - Song from Loreena McKennitt's album An Ancient Muse
Video games
  • Strike Commander
  • James Bond 007: From Russia with Love
  • DRIV3R
  • Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

Sister cities

Istanbul has 45 sister cities:

Related lists

  • List of museums and monuments in Istanbul
  • List of urban centers in Istanbul
  • List of universities in Istanbul
  • List of schools in Istanbul
  • List of architectural structures in Istanbul
  • List of columns and towers in Istanbul
  • List of libraries in Istanbul
  • List of shopping malls in Istanbul
  • List of mayors of Istanbul
  • List of Istanbulites

See also

  • Large Cities Climate Leadership Group


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External links

Mayors of İstanbul
Mayors as Province Governor (1923-1960)

Yuluğ | Erkul | Üstündağ | Kırdar | Gökay | Hadımlı | Tarhan | Yetkiner | Aygün

Mayors appointed by military (1960-1963)

Tulga | Erensu | Ertuğ | İlkay | Görgün | Akı | Uğur

Elected mayors (1963-1980)

İşcan | Ilgaz | Atabey | İsvan | Kotil

Mayors appointed by military (1980-1984)

Akansel | Kutay | Tırtıl

Greater İstanbul mayors (1984-present)

Dalan | Sözen | Erdoğan | Gürtuna | Topbaş

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