İstanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents. Its fate has been determined by its vital strategic location and enchanting natural beauty. It has long been coveted by powerful empires, and served as capital first to Byzantium and then to the Ottoman Empire.
İstanbul stretches along the two shores of the Bosphorus that links the Sea of Marmara in the South with the Black Sea in the North. It is Turkey’s largest city with a population of approximately 12 million.
İstanbul is also at the heart of the economy of Turkey. The largest companies and banks, the main national newspapers, television networks and advertising agencies all have their headquarters in this city.
İstanbul is also the capital of art and culture with a rich tradition in opera and ballet, theatres performing Turkish and foreign plays, concerts, art exhibitions, festivals, auctions, conferences and of course unique museums. The city also boasts the country’s largest and finest universities. As an imperial capital for 1500 years, İstanbul has acquired a highly original personality. At every turn in the city you are faced with Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman palaces, mosques, churches, monasteries, monuments, walls and ruins. Yet İstanbul is not a city living only in the past. It is a vibrant, modern and future-oriented metropolis. Bazaars and ultramodern supermarkets and department stores, street vendors and stock-brokers, old crumbling buildings and skyscrapers, horse-drawn carts and sumptuous limousines coexist and this amalgam gives the city a multi-faceted outlook and flavor. İstanbul is like an intricately woven carpet, a subtle blend of eastern and western cultures.
HAGIA SOPHIA MUSEUM
Hagia Sophia is a unique architectural monument being a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque and now a museum. For nearly thousand years, it is the largest enclosed space in the world and has been a place of attraction by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art.