Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey not only the historical but also economic, because it concentrates 30% of industrial production and is the country’s main port. It has an extensive network of roads which connect with major urban centers of Europe.
Former Church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
Economic growth and modernity have not prevented this beautiful city retains a rich architecture mainly Muslim origin. This is famous for its pottery, the use of stones in the walls and the presence of bold and ingenious domes on mosques. These historical attractions draw thousands of tourists who visit each year.
Formerly known as Byzantium and later as Constantinople, was the center of trade and cultural communication between Asia and Europe. Twenty-eight have gone centuries of rich history, political and economic and this city has become one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, comparable only to Rome.
Founded in 660 BC, so ancient Dorians, its strategic location and unique geographical location was provided with a rapid development as a commercial center. Captured the Roman Empire in 196 AD, just recovering its former glory in 324 of the Christian era, when Constantine became the capital of the Roman Empire.
By this time it was known as the Nova Rome to Constantinople and was adorned with beautiful buildings and artwork. These include the Royal Palace, the Senate building and the Basilica of St. Sophia which can be seen until today, and numerous paintings and sculptures that Constantine brought from Rome and Greece to beautify the capital.
When the city was under Turkish rule took its present name in Istanbul. Its new owners made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire and beautify the city further. In this period they built many beautiful buildings, including the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace-Saray, in addition to many gardens and fountains.
The historical areas of the city were declared in 1985 by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, the reasons are many, one can see beautiful architectural gems like the Church of Divine Wisdom. We can also see the fabulous Byzantine Hippodrome, the mosques of Sultanahmet and Süleymaniye, the Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman imperial power, and other famous monuments.
Its broad cultural background and historical tradition whatever reason has been declared as the European Capital of Culture for 2010, along with Pecs in Hungary and Essen in Germany.
Since 1923 Turkey adopted as the capital city of Ankara, but Istanbul is still a city that boasts an economic power, industrial and cultural role, being one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world. It houses more than a dozen universities and is the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, head of the Orthodox Church.