Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city was once one the world’s most important places for more than 1,500 years. Its strategic location made it the center of all commercial activities between Europe and Asia. Nowadays people from all over the globe come here to have a look at all the city has to offer.
If you are planning a trip to Istanbul, here are some fun facts about the city you should know:
- Istanbul is the only city in the world that stands in two different continents, Europe and Asia. Most people think of it as an Asian city but actually the historic center is on the European part of town. The Bosphorus River divides the two continents and joins the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
- Although it was the capital of some of the most important empires in the world: Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman; Istanbul is not Turkey’s capital. Ankara is the country’s capital since it became the Republic of Turkey in 1923. It is however its largest city with close to 12 million people.
- The Blue Mosque, one of the cities landmarks, is the only mosque in the city with 6 minarets in its façade. Some stories say that when Sultan Ahmed I built it, the Mosque had one minaret more than the Grand Mosque in Mecca and Muslims considered it disrespectful. So the Sultan had to issue an order to build a new minaret for the Grand Mosque to reestablish the peace.
- The city was first known as Byzantium but changed to Constantinople when Roman Emperor Constantine the Great made capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. The named finally changed to Istanbul in 1930 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk proclaimed the Republic in 1930. To ensure the usage of the new name, Turkish authorities resend all mail and packages that were sent to its previous name.
- When the city was part of the Ottoman Empire there were over 1,400 public toilets all around the city. At the same time, there weren’t any even at palaces in France and the rest of Europe.
Just another extra information on the city, did you know that the Crusaders took from Istanbul the four bronze horses decorating San Marco’s Cathedral in Venice? And that Agatha Christie wrote “Murder on the Orient Express” while staying at the city’s Pera Palas Hotel.
Best Accommodation in Istanbul
Hotel Saba Sultan Istanbul
Hotel Saba Sultan is a 3 star boutique hotel in downtown Istanbul offering affordable rooms right in the historical area.
Guest Rating: 10
City Area: Sultanahmet
Located few steps from the Sirkeci train station and the main tram and bus stops, Hotellino lies in Istanbul’s city center.
Guest Rating: 9,7
City Area: Topkapi
Ipek Palas Hotel, Istanbul
Ideally located in the heart of Istanbul, Turkey, Ipek Palas hotel is in close vicinity to most of the famous city landmarks, such as the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.
Guest Rating: 7,9
City Area: Topkapi
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