Istanbul is not only the largest city in Turkey but also the most popular (both for locals and for international tourists). Brush up your Here are 15 fun facts about Istanbul.
- Istanbul is the only city that is located on two continents – both Asia and Europe.
- It has been the capital to some of the largest empires including Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman.
- It’s a common misconception, but Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey – the capital of Turkey is actually Ankara.
- Istanbul is home to the highest number of mosques in the world, exceeding 3,000 (Sultanahmet and the Sulemaniye mosques).
- With a length of 573 meters, Istanbul is home to the 3rd oldest subway in the world, right below London and New York.
Flag of Turkey
- Istanbul has the same population, 13 million, as one of the smaller countries of Europe – Belgium.
- The Galata Tower built in 1348, originally called the Tower of Christ, was used to house prisoners of war. It now offers a 360 view of the city.
- In 1502, Istanbul was known as being the most crowded city on Earth.
- ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, the famous novel was written by Agatha Christie, was written at a hotel in Istanbul.
- Istanbul is famous for its seafood restaurants.
- It is a city of many names. The Megarian colonists gave the name ‘Byzantium’ (referred to the legendary King Byzas) in 660 BC. It was then called ‘Constantinople’, named after the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. The city was officially named Istanbul (comes from the Greek expression ‘Is Tin Poli’ (In The City)) in 1930. At one point in time, the Turkish post office stopped delivering mail with the address ‘Constantinople’, as many people were still using it.
- The Roman Emperor Constantine built the city on seven hills to match the seven famous hills of Rome. Imperial mosques are located in each of these seven hills.
The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
- Tulips are a well known symbol of The Netherlands, however the story originated in Turkey, after the flowers were introduced to The Netherlands via the Silk Road. To celebrate its popular flower, Istanbul (like Amsterdam) celebrates a Tulip Festival every year around the time of April/May.
- Some of the best nightlife venues that can be found in Istanbul are located in the Galata district. These venues include Istiklal Street, Taksim Square, and Beyoglu.
- Istanbul has never hosted the Olympics.
- Istanbul had over 1400 toilets for public use when the rest of Europe had none.
Do you know any fun or interesting facts about Istanbul that we’ve not mentioned? Let us know in the comments section below!