The Bosphorus, the strait, divides the urban area into a European and an Asian part. To the south is the Sea of Marmara, and to the north is the Black Sea. Due to this location, Istanbul is the only metropolis in the world that is located on two continents. The Golden Horn, a strait running to the west, separates the European part, in turn, into a peninsula located to the south with the historical city center “Sultanahmet” (Historical Peninsula) and into a northern urban area, the historical Genoese quarter “Galata” (Modern Istanbul). The metropolis also extends to the west as well as to the north and east and also includes the associated Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara.
The metropolis of Istanbul, the city on the Bosphorus, is unique: it is located on two continents – in Europe and Asia, is connected with the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and was built on seven hills. The Golden Horn (Türk. Halic) separates the two districts of Galata and Beyoglu from the Old Town on the European part. All over the city, the minarets of the mosques rise to the sky. Magnificent palaces and buildings show the wealth and power of bygone times. The lively hustle and bustle on squares and markets, the large bazaars and the variety of sights make this city something special. A trip to Istanbul is something very special – the city presents itself like a fairy tale from 1001 nights. Tradition meets modernity, Orient meets Occident.
With its location on the Golden Horn, at the transition between Asia and Europe, the city has been an important trading metropolis since Greek times. It became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and after the conquest of the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Even though the new capital has been called Ankara since 1923, Istanbul is still the most important city in Turkey economically and culturally. In Istanbul, the most diverse religions live side by side: Muslims, Christians, Jews. The social contrasts are stark, not least due to the mass immigration from Anatolia. Nowhere else is the break between tradition and modernity as visible as here.
Control of the route between Asia and Europe
Istanbul is the only city in the world that is located on two continents. Although the first traces of settlement date back to the time of the 3rd millennium BC, the history of the city begins only around 660 BC. According to the myth, Byzas of Megara founded the new city on the European side between the golden horn and the Bosphorus. The newly founded city is thus called Byzantium and became the most important trading metropolis in this region until the beginning of the 4th century AD. The control of the sea route from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and the land route from Europe to Asia additionally gave the city a geopolitical significance, which it has retained to the present day.
Which country does Istanbul belong to?
Can you drink alcohol in Istanbul?
What language do they speak in Istanbul?
Is Istanbul a part of Europe or Asia?