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Istanbul Travel Guide

City of Istanbul

Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city located in the center of the Old World, in the northeast of the Anatolian Peninsula between the Black and Aegean Seas, boasting for a vast and glorious history and magnificent scenic beauties. Istanbul is the unique city in the world built on two continents divided by the Bosphorus strait.

Istanbul through its history was the capital, successively, of three important empires of the Old world, The Eastern Roman Empire (324-476), the Byzantine Empire (476-1453) and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922) during each period the city acquired different names as Byzantium, Constantinople until take its actual name. Today Istanbul is a huge metropolis connecting continents, cultures, and religions contrasting its unrivalled heritage with the modernity.

Recent population census made in Turkey shows that Istanbul has a population of about 12 million people, from which almost 65% are inhabitants of the Asian side but with few remains and attractions to see. In contrast, the European side is the commercial and cultural center, further divided into two districts by the Golden Horn; the Old City and the modern downtown. Both extremes of the city, the European and Asiatic can be reached by two bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge, one of the world's longest suspension bridges and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. The Old City and the New City in the European side separated by the Golden Horn; a natural channel 7km long, are connected by two bridges, the Galata Bridge and Atatürk Bridge.

The majority of historical monuments are located in the Old part of the city in the European side. The most famous are St. Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, The Wall of Theodosius, Topkapi Palace, Suleymaniye Mosque, Underground Cistern, St.Eirene, St.Saviour in Chora, Archeological Museum, Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market; while in the new part can be appreciated the modern face of the city with its skyscrapers and luxurious shopping centers, and at the same time, visitors could be delighted by the wooden houses bordering the Bosphorus and historical sites such as Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Galata Tower, Nusretiye Mosque, Clock Tower and many others more.

Although the Asiatic side of the city, has no much to offer to see bears a mixture of modern houses, lovely wooden villas as well as some historical sites such as Anadolu Fortress, Beylerbeyi Palace, Leanders Tower, Cinili Mosque, etc.

Undoubtedly Istanbul has too much to offer for visitors delighting with its historical legacy.

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