Istanbul and imageries of an expansive metropolis with an astonishing cultural and architectural heritage comes to mind. Visitors will find a melting pot of Eastern and Western history spanning some 2,000 years in a city that is ancient yet modern. The largest city in Turkey is not only one of the most popular locally but a favourite destination for international tourists.
So, you want to go to this fantastic city? Here are 12 interesting facts to help get you underway on your visit to Istanbul.
- Istanbul is the only pan-continental city in the world situated on two continents, Europe and Asia
- Under the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul was well-known for having more than 1,400 public toilets
- While not the capital, Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city with more than 13 million people
- 99 per cent of Istanbul’s population is Muslim
- Tulips, the icon of Holland, originated in Istanbul and were sent from Istanbul to the Netherlands
- The Grand Bazaar is the biggest old covered bazaar in the world, with over 3,000 shops of all kinds
- Istanbul was once recognised as the most jam-packed city on earth, which was in 1502.
- Istanbul has the third oldest subway in the world, built in 1875. It’s 573 metres long and located in the Beyoglu district. The first subway built was in London in 1863 and the second in New York in 1868
- Istanbul is home to the most mosques in Turkey. It has around 3,113 mosques, including the historical Sultanahmet Mosque and the Süleymaniye Mosque.
- Sultanahmet or the Old City is where most of the well-known historic sights of Istanbul are situated
- The Galata Tower, built in 1348 to house prisoners of war, now offers a 360-degree observing platform of the city.
- Istanbul was the European Cultural Capital City in 2010, but has never hosted the Olympics.
Fancy a trip to Turkey? Travel Talk Tours offer 8-12 days Turkey Tours that all start and finish in Istanbul so you have plenty of time to explore this magnificent city!