Istambul – Turkey, Asia
Istanbul (Turkish:İstanbul), historicallyknown as Byzantiumand Constantinople(see names of Istanbul for further information), is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbulmetropolitan province (municipality) had 13.26 million people livingin it as of December, 2010,which is 18% of Turkey’s population and the 3rd largest metropolitanarea in Europe (if its Asian half is counted) after London and Moscow. The city in its administrativelimits had 8.8 million residents counted in the latest Turkish census from2000. Istanbul is a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financialcentre of Turkey.It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbour knownas the GoldenHorn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on theAsian (Anatolia)sides of the Bosphorus,and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents.Istanbul is a designated alpha world city.
During its long history, Istanbul hasserved as the capital of the Roman Empire (330–395), the EasternRoman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the LatinEmpire (1204–1261), and the OttomanEmpire (1453–1922). When the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29 October1923, Ankara,which had previously served as the headquarters of the Turkish national movement during the Turkish War of Independence, was chosenas the new Turkish State’s capital. Istanbul was chosen as a joint European Capital of Culture for 2010and the European Capital of Sports for 2012. Istanbul is currently bidding tohost the 2020 Summer Olympics. The historic areas ofthe city were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.
The city covers 39 districts of the Istanbulprovince.
Istanbulis located in northwestern Turkey within the MarmaraRegion on a total area of 5,343 square kilometers (2,063 sq mi). TheBosphorus,which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea,divides the city into a European side, comprising the historic and economiccenters, and an Asian, Anatolian side; as such, Istanbul is one of the two bi-continentalcities in Turkey among with Çanakkale.The city is further divided by the Golden Horn,a natural harbor bounding the peninsula where the former Byzantium andConstantinoplewere founded. In the late-19th century, a wharf was constructed in Galata at the mouthof the Golden Horn, replacing a sandy beach that once formed part of theinlet’s coastline. The confluence of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and theGolden Horn at the heart of present-day Istanbul has deterred attacking forcesfor thousands of years and still remains a prominent feature of the city’slandscape.
stanbul has a Mediterranean climate according to the Köppen climate classification system,although its climate becomes more oceanictoward the north.
In summer the weather in Istanbul is hotand humid, with the temperature in July and August averaging 23 °C (73 °F).Summers are relatively dry, but rainfall is significant during that season.Extreme heat, however, is uncommon, as temperatures rise above 32 °C(90 °F) on only five days per year on average. During winter it is cold,wet and often snowy, with the temperature in January and February averaging 4°C (39 °F). Snowfalls tend to be heavy, but the snowcover and temperaturesbelow the freezing point rarely last more than a few days. Spring and autumnare mild, but are unpredictable and often wet, and can range from chilly towarm, however the nights are chilly.
The Muslims are by far the largest religious group in Istanbul. Among them, theSunnisform the most populous sect, while a number of the local Muslims are Alevis. In 2007 therewere 2,944 active mosques in Istanbul.
Religious minorities include: OrthodoxChristians, Armenian Christians, CatholicLevantines, and Sephardic Jews. According to the 2000 census, therewere 2,691 active mosques, 123 active churches and 26 active synagogues inIstanbul; as well as 109 Muslim cemeteries and 57 non-Muslim cemeteries.Some districts used to have sizeable populations of these ethnicgroups, such as the Kumkapı district, which had a sizeable Armenianpopulation; the Balat district, which had a sizeable Jewishpopulation; the Fenerand Samatyadistricts, which had a sizeable Greek population; and some neighbourhoods in the Nişantaşıand Beyoğludistricts that had sizeable Levantine populations. Very few remain in these districts,as they either emigrated or moved to other districts. In some quarters, such asKuzguncuk,an Armenian church sits next to a synagogue, and on the other side of the roada Greek Orthodox church is found beside a mosque.
Istanbulhas two international airports: The larger one is the Atatürk International Airport locatedin the Yeşilköy district on the European side, about 24 kilometres(15 mi) west from the city centre. When it was first built, the airportwas situated at the western edge of the metropolitan area but now lies withinthe city bounds. The smaller one is the Sabiha Gökçen International Airportlocated in the Kurtköy district on the Asian side, close to the IstanbulPark GP Racing Circuit. It is situated approximately 20 kilometres(12 mi) east of the Asian side and 45 kilometres (28 mi) east of theEuropean city centre.