Welcome to Istanbul, the huge city between two seas. Istanbul is one of the largest metropolitan regions in the world. With a history spanning more than 2.000 years, the city is a conglomerate of ancient, medieval and modern buildings. As far as the past is concerned: parts of the historic old town have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Istanbul - Nusretiye Mosque at Galataport
What is special about the metropolitan region, which has more than 15 million inhabitants, is that it stretches over dozens of kilometers on both sides of the Bosporus, on the edge of the European and Asian continents. The Marmara Sea and the Black Sea form the natural borders of Turkey's largest city and the second largest city in Europe. Istanbul is divided into 39 districts, 25 of which are on the European side.
Istanbul - Arnavutkoy
Istanbul - Kanlıca in Asia Minor
Istanbul – a little history
According to historical sources, the city was founded under the name of Byzantion (Byzantium) in 660 BC. The Roman Emperor Constantine made Byzantium the capital. To honor the emperor, the city was renamed Constantinopolis, which means Constantinople in German. The city was also the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. It has officially borne the name of Istanbul since 1930.
Istanbul - Hagia Sophia
Istanbul's history has been extremely changeable over time. The city was harassed or conquered by Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders and Ottomans. In the late autumn of 1918, French and British troops occupied the city to secure the strategically important straits. The occupation ended after the Turkish War of Independence in September 1923. In the same year Istanbul lost its function as the capital to Anatolian Ankara.
Istanbul – the economic region
The city is the most important financial and economic center of Turkey. Istanbul manifests this claim through many modern buildings. In the Levent financial district, which is part of the Beşiktaş district, as well as in the Maslak (Sariyer) business district, there is one high-rise building next to the other.
The focal points of economic activities are industrial production and wholesale. Other important branches of the economy are banking, press and publishing. Istanbul is one of the 50 cities with the fastest economic development worldwide. Istanbul accounts for 50 percent of Turkey's total foreign trade. Sixty percent of all foreign direct investments are made in Istanbul. The city is also an important domestic and international transport hub. And, Istanbul is a tourist hotspot. In 2019, before the outbreak of SARS-CoV-19, nearly 15 million tourists visited the city.
Istanbul – destination of cruise ships
Already the way from the Aegean Sea through the Dardanelles, past the provincial capital Çanakkale in Asia Minor, inspires the passengers of the cruise ships during the day. After crossing the Sea of Marmara, the ship's travelers wake up the following morning and are amazed that the ship has docked at Galataport Cruise Terminal.
Istanbul - destination of cruise ships
Galataport opened in October 2021 after five years of construction. The 1,5 billion euro project was built on the site of the historic Karakoy Port. The project is the latest expression of Turkish gigantomania. It combines the areas of cruise tourism, hotels, gastronomy, shopping and culture. The plans are based on the idea of handling 1,5 million cruise passengers a year in the underground Galataport. In addition, 25 million visitors are expected to visit the project's facilities.
Cruise ships dock at the Bosphorus navigable by small and large ships. On the land side, passengers see the Galata Tower. To the west you can see the historical peninsula with Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. To the east, guests will see Kabataş Pier and Dolmabahçe Palace.
Istanbul - historical peninsula
Istanbul - Ships on the Bosphorus
Istanbul is ideal for individual activities because of the well-structured public transport. The essential Istanbul attractions are in the historic center. Unforgettable impressions offers a Boat trip on the Bosphorus.
Update March 2022