When you think of Istanbul,you think of a large metropolis with a rich cultural and architectural history.
Visitors will discover a 2,000-year-old mixing pot of Eastern and Western history in this historic but modernized city.
Turkey's largest metropolis is not only one of the most popular among residents, but also a popular tourism destination for visitors.
Here are fascinating facts about Istanbul to get you started on your trip.
Facts About Istanbul
1) Istanbul is the world's only intercontinental metropolis,covering both Europe and Asia.
2) Istanbul, with a population of 16 million,is one of Europe's largest urban metropolises and the world's second-largest metropolis by population inside city limits.
3) Istanbul is home to Turkey's most mosques. The famous Sultanahmet Mosque and the Süleymaniye Mosque are one of the 3,113 mosques in the city.
4) It has been the capital of three great empires throughout its thousands of years of history:Roman,Byzantine,and Ottoman.Turkey's current capital,however,is Ankara.
5) Istanbul is the world's fastest-growing tourism destination. According to a recent survey by MasterCard Worldwide Index, Istanbul pass New York and Amsterdam in terms of visitor numbers. In 2021, 7 million people came, with 45 million visits registered by the Istanbul Cultural and Tourism Directorate in 2022.
6) Sultanahmet,or the Old City, is home to a large number of Istanbul's famous historic buildings.
7) After 1453, the Hagia Sophia, which began as an Orthodox Christian church in 537 CE, became a mosque under Ottoman authority.
After the establishment of modern Turkey in 1935,it was converted into a museum.In July 2020,the Council of State annulled the 1934 decision to establish the museum, and the Hagia Sophia was reclassified as a mosque
For over 900 years, until to the building of the Seville Cathedral in 1520,Hagia Sophia was the biggest cathedral in the world. It receives nearly 3 million visitors each year.
8) Istanbul is home to some of Turkey's oldest sporting clubs, including Beşiktaş J.K., which was founded in 1903 as the nation's only club.
9) According to a Brookings Institution research, Istanbul was placed seventh among the fastest-growing metropolitan economies.
10) Istanbul is home to the world's third-oldest metro, which is 573 meters long. It was completed in 1875, following those in London and New York, which were completed in 1863 and 1868, accordingly.
11) The Grand Bazaar, which has been open since 1461 and has 60 streets and 5,000 stores, is one of the world's oldest and largest covered markets. Every day, it attracts between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors.
12) Istanbul is the economic, cultural, and historical center of the country. Its commercial and historical heart is in Europe, although Asia is home to a third of its people.
13) Galleria Ataköy, which opened in Istanbul in 1987, marked the beginning of Turkey's modern shopping mall history.
14) While most Istanbul sellers speak English, it is recommended to double-check and verify pricing to avoid misunderstandings. Use a calculator to calculate the exact amount.
15) Istanbul's historic seafood restaurants are well-known. Many of the city's restaurants line the Bosphorus coastlines, and the Kumkap neighborhood near the Sea of Marmara alone has 50 seafood restaurants.
16) In and after 1930, the Turkish post office refused to send mail addressed to Constantinople in order to ensure that people utilized the Istanbul name.
17) The Princes' Islands are a nine-island group that is a favorite weekend escape from the city.
18) According to the 2019 Travellers' Choice Destinations awards, Istanbul is the world's best destination, beating out Paris, New York, Rome, and London.
19) Istanbul has 237 hamams, but only 60 are still functional. The Tahtakale Hamami, which dates from the second part of the 15th century and is now deactivated, is Istanbul's oldest and largest hamam.
20) Istanbul is known for its seven hills, each of which is crowned with an imperial mosque.
21) The Pera Palas Hotel in Istanbul was the setting for Agatha Christie's classic novel "Murder on the Orient Express." From 1883 to 1977, the Orient Express train ran between Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul).
22) During the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul had 1400 public toilets around the city, meanwhile the rest of Europe had none.
23) Although most taxi drivers are kind and honest, most do not speak English. When hailing a taxi, it is important to use your destination's written address.
24) Istanbul's fully serviced history allows tourists to travel back in time and witness the city's 16-century history as the center and mirror of two world empires and two world cultures.
25) The Golden Horn is a river that divides Istanbul's European side into several neighborhoods.
26) Due to the busy traffic in Istanbul during rush hour, taxi drivers may advise you to stop near your destination rather than sit in wait. It's a good idea to keep a map available so you can keep track of where you're alighting in regards to your destination.
27) Istanbul is surrounded on all sides by water, with the Bosphorus cutting across it. Palaces and parks mark the European side of the Bosphorus, while attractive residential areas line the Asian side.
28) The Galata Tower, which was originally built to hold prisoners of war in 1348, today serves as a 360-degree viewing gallery of the city.
29) Throughout history, Istanbul has been known as Byzantium, Constantinople, Stamboul, and Tsarigrad.
30) Germany, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, and Iran account for the majority of tourists to Istanbul.
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