Istanbul, -

Other Name:
Constantinople, Byzantium
Marmara Region
Languages Spoken:
Turkish, English, German, French
Best Time To Visit:
January To December
Long Distance Code:
+90 212, +90 216
International Access:
Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen International Airport (SAW), Istanbul Atatürk International Airport (IST)
Istanbul is located in northwestern Turkey within the Marmara Region on a total area of 5,343 square kilometers (2,063 sq mi). The Bosphorus, which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, divides the city into a European side, comprising the historic and economic centers, and an Asian, Anatolian side; as such, Istanbul is one of the two bi-continental cities in Turkey, along with Çanakkale. The city is further divided by the Golden Horn, a natural harbor bounding the peninsula where the former Byzantium and Constantinople were founded. In the late-19th century, a wharf was constructed in Galata at the mouth of the Golden Horn, replacing a sandy beach that once formed part of the inlet''''s coastline. The confluence of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn at the heart of present-day Istanbul has deterred attacking forces for thousands of years and still remains a prominent feature of the city''''s landscape. The historic peninsula is said to be built on seven hills, each topped by an imperial mosque, surrounded by 22 kilometers (14 mi) of city walls; the largest of these hills is the site of Topkapı Palace on the Sarayburnu. Rising from the opposite side of the Golden Horn is another, conical hill, where the modern Beyoğlu district is situated. Because of the topography, buildings were once constructed with the help of terraced retaining walls (some of which are still visible in older parts of the city), and roads in Beyoğlu were laid out in the form of steps. Üsküdar on the Asian side exhibits similarly hilly characteristics, with the terrain gradually extending down to the Bosphorus coast, but the landscape in Şemsipaşa and Ayazma is more abrupt, akin to a promontory. The highest point in Istanbul is Çamlıca Hill (also on the Asian side), with an altitude of 288 meters (945 ft). Istanbul is situated near the North Anatolian Fault on the boundary between the African and Eurasian plates. This fault zone, which runs from northern Anatolia to the Sea of Marmara, has been responsible for several deadly earthquakes throughout the city''''s history. Among the most devastating of these seismic events was the 1509 earthquake, which caused a tsunami that broke over the walls of the city, destroyed over 100 mosques, and killed more than 10,000 people. More recently, in 1999, an earthquake with its epicenter in nearby İzmit left 17,000 people dead, including 1,000 people in Istanbul''''s suburbs. The people of Istanbul remain concerned that an even more catastrophic seismic event may be in Istanbul''''s near future, as thousands of structures recently built to accommodate the city''''s rapidly increasing population may not have been constructed properly. Seismologists say the risk of a 7.6-magnitude earthquake striking Istanbul by 2030 is greater than sixty percent.
Istanbul is characterized as having either a humid subtropical climate, according to Köppen climate classification system, or a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, according to the updated Köppen-Geiger classification system. However, due to its vast size, diverse topography, and maritime location, Istanbul exhibits a multitude of distinct microclimates. Northern parts of the city, for example, express characteristics of an oceanic climate. Summer weather in Istanbul is moderately warm, with the temperature in July and August averaging 24 °C (75 °F). Extreme heat, however, is uncommon, as temperatures rise above 32 °C (90 °F) on only five days per year on average. Rainfall is also uncommon during the summer, with only four or five rainy days per month. Winters are cold, wet and often snowy, with the temperature in January and February averaging 4 °C (39 °F). Snowfalls tend to be heavy, but snowcover and temperatures below freezing rarely last more than a few days. Spring and autumn are mild, but often wet and unpredictable; chilly winds from the northwest and warm gusts from the south—sometimes in the same day—have the tendency to cause fluctuations in temperature. Istanbul has a persistently high humidity, which can exacerbate the moderate summer heat. The humidity is especially salient during the morning hours, when humidity generally reaches eighty percent and fog is very common. The city receives fog an average of 228 days each year, with the highest concentration of foggy days being in the winter months, although it usually dissipates by noontime. Thunderstorms are uncommon, occurring just 23 days each year, but they occur most frequently in the summer and early autumn months. Istanbul has an annual average of 124 days with significant precipitation, which together generate around 844 mm (33 in) of rain. The highest recorded temperature was 40.5 °C (105 °F) on 12 July 2000, and the lowest recorded temperature was −16.1 °C (3 °F) on 9 February 1927. The highest recorded rainfall in 24 hours was 227 millimetres (8.9 in) on 16 October 1985. The highest recorded snow cover was 80 centimetres (31 in) in March 1987.
Istanbul (historically Byzantium and Constantinople), is the largest city of Turkey, home to a population of 13,483,052 in 2011. A megacity, it is the nation''''s cultural, economic, and financial center, ranked as an alpha(-) world city by GaWC in 2010. Located in the northwest of the country, it lies on the Bosphorus strait and encompasses the natural harbour known as the Golden Horn. Extending both on the European (Thrace) and Asian (Anatolia) sides of the strait, Istanbul is the only city in the world situated on two continents. It covers 39 districts of Istanbul province. The greater Istanbul metropolitan area held 18% of Turkey''''s population in 2010. It ranks the world’s 7th fastest growing metro area in 2011. During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). When the new Republic of Turkey was proclaimed in 1923, Ankara was chosen as its capital. Istanbul''''s historic areas were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. It was named a joint European Capital of Culture for 2010 and the European Capital of Sports for 2012. Istanbul is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
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