Come see through our lens, the magical City of Istanbul!
Istanbul has an ancient and diverse history as a meeting point between East and West, Asia and Europe. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, it became the city of Byzantium after Greek settlement in the 7th century BCE. Renamed Constantinople in 330 CE, it was successively the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, Ankara became the capital of Turkey, but Istanbul remains at the centre of Turkish economic and cultural life.
Today Istanbul is a megacity, with over 14 million residents, and is soon to become Europe’s most populous metropolitan area.
Istanbul is massively rich in cultural heritage, and the historic peninsula of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some landmarks date back to Roman times, including the monumental Valens Aqueduct. However, buildings from the Byzantine and Ottoman era dominate the city’s skyline. The Hagia Sophia was inaugurated in 537 AD as the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, and was the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years. Today it is a museum. Both the 16th century Süleymaniye Mosque and the 17th century Blue Mosque mix the inspiration of the Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture. Other landmarks of the Ottoman era include the Topkapi Palace, which was the residence and administrative centre of the Ottoman sultans for centuries. It is now a museum operated by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Istanbul blends tradition and modernity. It is an ancient city with an unparalleled cultural heritage, also possessing a strong economy, a young population and an increasingly vibrant contemporary cultural scene. Its challenge is to build upon these opportunities, managing growth in order to preserve the uniqueness of its culture and heritage