Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, is the most famous city in Turkey. With around 14 million inhabitants, the city took place 15 among the largest metropolitan citeis in the world in 2014. It is, however, assumed that the population is much higher. With almost 12 million tourists from abroad each year, Istanbul is also the city with the eighth largest number of visitors in the world. The city is located on the north bank of the Marmarameeres on both sides of the Bosporus, so a part of the city is located on the European and on the other part on the Asian continent.
In the year 660 BC, founded under the name of Byzantion, the city can look back on a 2600-year history. For almost 1,600 years it was the capital for the Roman, the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire.
The cityscape is characterized by buildings of Greek-Roman antiquity, medieval Byzantium and modern Turkey. Palaces, as well as numerous mosques, cemevleri, churches and synagogues. Because of its uniqueness, the historic old town was declared a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. In 2010, Istanbul was the cultural capital of Europe.
Istanbul is located in western Turkey and surrounds the Bosporus. The Golden Horn, a westward bosporus bay separates the European part into a southern and northern area. The southern part is a peninsula between Marmarame and Golden Horn with the historical core of the city. To the north are the districts with the historical Galata and Pera. Both to the west, to the north and east, the metropolis extends far beyond the historic districts. In the southeast are the Princes Island, which belongs to Istanbul.
The urban area has an extension of about 50 km in north-south direction and about 100 km in east-west direction.