Facts About Istanbul
*The only city in the world located on two continents is Istanbul, which has been the capital of three great empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman for more than 2,000 years. Istanbul is Turkey's most populated city, and its cultural and financial center. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both literally and figuratively. Istanbul's population is variously estimated between 12 and 20 million people, making it also one of the largest cities in Europe.
History of Istanbul
Expanding the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium by the order of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus and after him Constantine the great, the imperial city of Constantinople was for nearly a thousand years the last remaining outpost of the Roman (later termed Eastern Roman or Byzantine) Empire before finally conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in May 29th, 1453, an event often taken to mark the end of the Middle Ages. It was the nerve center for military campaigns that were to enlarge the Ottoman Empire dramatically. By the mid 1500's, Istanbul, with a population of almost half a million, was a major cultural, political, and commercial center. Ottoman rule continued until it was defeated in WWI and Istanbul was occupied by the allies. When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 after the War of Independence, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,the founder of The Turkish Republic, moved the capital to the city of Ankara. But Istanbul has continued to expand dramatically; today its population is approximately 18 million and increases at an estimated 700,000 immigrants per year. Industry has expanded even as tourism has grown. It continues to be a city that creates its own history at the intersection where both Continents meet.