Istanbul (in modern Turkish: İstanbul; in Ottoman Turkish: استانبول), historically known as Byzantium, Constantinople, Astana, and Islambol, is the largest city in Turkey and the seventh-largest city in the world in terms of population, with a population of 15 million and 29 thousand people. Istanbul is also considered a “megacity” and is regarded as the cultural, economic, and financial center of Turkey. The city covers 39 provinces and forms Istanbul Province. Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus Strait and surrounds the natural harbor known as the “Golden Horn” (in Turkish: Haliç or Altın Boynuz) in the northwest of the country. The city extends along the European side of the Bosphorus, known as “Thrace,” and the Asian side, or “Anatolia,” making it one of the few cities spanning two continents. Istanbul was chosen as the joint European Capital of Culture in 2010 and its historical sites were previously added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.
Istanbul is considered one of the most important tourist cities in the world, ranking eighth on the list of the most visited cities in the world. The city’s very distinctive geographical location, connecting Asia and Europe, has greatly contributed to the rapid growth of the tourism sector. This is in addition to the significant efforts made by the Turkish government in providing the necessary infrastructure for the development of the tourism sector.
In that context, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the new Istanbul Airport in an attempt by the government to keep up with the significant increase in the tourism sector. The airport is planned to be the largest airport in the world, with an annual capacity of 150 million passengers. The airport was planned to be built due to the lack of capacity in the existing airports in Istanbul. It is the third international airport to be built in Istanbul after Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. As of March 2017, around 40% of the airport construction was completed. On October 29, 2018, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the new airport. The tourism sector in Istanbul is considered one of the most important sources of income in Istanbul and Turkey as a whole, with more than 1.04 million people employed in the tourism sector in 2014. With this number, the tourism sector ranked third among sectors with the largest number of workers.
- The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
is a museum that houses a unique collection of large carpets from all around the world, as well as Islamic artifacts and monuments. It also includes manuscripts, paintings, and old Qur’ans from the Islamic eras.
- The Covered Market
is one of the oldest Turkish markets that attracts tourists for shopping. It offers a wide range of products including jewelry, accessories, and souvenir gifts. It also has a variety of clothing, antiques, and sculptures. Many tourists visit this market, which has 60 inner streets and around 5,000 diverse and numerous shops. Its total area is 47,600 square meters. Surprisingly, it used to be an ancient maze! The market has six main gates: Bayezid Gate, Market Gate, Mahmoud Pasha Gate, Mercers’ Gate, Nur Osmaniye Gate, and Orgu Gate. The Covered Market, also known as the Grand Bazaar, was built in 1455 in the center of Istanbul by the order of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, shortly after the conquest of Constantinople. Its construction continued until 1461 and it was significantly expanded during the 16th century during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The last restoration took place in 1894 after an earthquake. The main purpose of its construction was to establish a market for the transportation of goods between the Ottoman states and the Arab countries.
one of the most beautiful parks in Istanbul, is home to a variety of plants, herbs, and rare trees. The park covers a very large area, reaching up to 345 hectares, and was opened in 1949. It is located in the Bakirkoy area, along the Marmara Sea, near the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Palace, the founder of the Turkish Republic.
Ortaköy Mosque, also known as the Mecidiye Mosque, is located on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait. It was built by Sultan Abdulmecid in 1854 and features Baroque architectural style. The mosque has arched walls with reinforced supports for increased durability. It is illuminated by high and wide windows, and it boasts two square-shaped minarets on each side of the Sultan’s platform, which are tall and beautiful. The mosque itself is situated in the beautiful Ortaköy area, overlooking the Bosphorus Strait and the Bosphorus Bridge. You can enjoy a wonderful evening in this area and savor some delicious Turkish cuisine that the region is known for.
also known as Çamlıca Tepesi in Turkish, is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, in the Üsküdar district. It is considered one of the most important tourist attractions in Turkey due to its stunning panoramic view of Istanbul and the entrance of the Bosphorus Strait. The hill is the highest among the seven hills surrounding Istanbul, reaching an elevation of approximately 267 meters. Çamlıca Hill is divided into two sections: Büyük Çamlıca Tepesi (Big Çamlıca Hill) and Küçük Çamlıca Tepesi (Small Çamlıca Hill). Büyük Çamlıca Tepesi stands at 267 meters above sea level and offers panoramic views of Istanbul’s waterways, such as the Bosphorus Bridge and the Golden Horn. On the other hand, Küçük Çamlıca Tepesi reaches an elevation of 229 meters and features beautiful gardens, forests, and walking trails.