Istanbul is easily one of the most popular cities in the world, and with good reason! This stunning city has traces of its rich history all over, boasting bright colors and fantastic foods. So, let’s get to know this Turkish delight a little better with some fun facts about Istanbul.
1. Where is Istanbul, anyway?
Istanbul can be quite a confusing city to locate! That is because it is in fact the only city in the world that is located on two different continents. Technically speaking, Istanbul is situated both in Asia and in Europe.
2. It’s NOT the capital of Turkey.
Due to the fact that Istanbul is both the largest and most popular city in Turkey, many assume that it is the capital. However, it is in fact Ankara which is the capital city of Turkey.
3. Empires have laid claim to the city over the years.
Istanbul has been the home and the capital of many great empires. It was a part of the Roman, Ottoman, and Byzantine empires!
4. It’s a city of worship.
If you are looking for some of the most beautiful mosques in the world, then head straight to Istanbul! The city has over 3000 mosques, the most any city has in the world.
5. Room for one more?
Istanbul is a large city, with a similarly large number of people! It has a population of around 13 million inhabitants. That is roughly the same amount of people that live in Belgium!
6. Room to breathe?
Talking of a lot of people, back in 1502, Istanbul was generally known as being the most crowded city on the planet. Let’s face it, it’s still pretty crowded today!
7. A Roman legacy.
The city as we know it was built by Constantine, the Roman Emperor. At the time, the city was known as Constantinople, loosely named after the ruler himself. He had the city built on seven hills to match those of Rome. That is why today, you will still find imperial mosques on each one of the seven hills.
8. Tulip fever!
Although many of us immediately associate tulips with the Netherlands, they can actually be traced back to Turkey. They were initially delivered to the Netherlands via the Silk Road. And, just like in the Netherlands, Istanbul celebrates its own Tulip Festival every year in the spring.
9. The inspiration for a murder!
The famous novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, written by British author Agatha Christie, was actually written in Istanbul. She wrote it at the Pera Palace Hotel, not too far from the south end of the Orient Express railway.
As a memorial to Agatha Christie, the Pera Palace Hotel has continued to maintain room 411, the one in which she always stayed.
10. A world-renowned view!
The Galata Tower, one of the most famous buildings in Istanbul, is now a popular tourist attraction due to its splendid 360˚ view of the city. However, back in the day, it was not as revered. In 1348, the Galata Tower was known as the Tower of Christ. It was used to hold prisoners of war. Thankfully, we can all agree that it is something much nicer, now!
FAQs about Istanbul
What is the weather like in Istanbul?
Istanbul has a transitional Mediterranean climate. This means that while it has very cold winters, it also has rainy seasons and very hot summers.
What is Istanbul famous for?
Istanbul is famous for many reasons. From its unique tea flavors and incredible cuisine, to its thousands of mosques and colorful festivals. Millions of tourists visit this magical city every year to discover everything that Istanbul has to offer!
What festivals take place in Istanbul?
There are multiple, world-renowned festivals that take place in Istanbul every year. Festivals such as the Istanbul International Film Festival, the Istanbul Tulip Festival, the Istanbul International Music Festival, the Istanbul Coffee Festival and more all attract tourists from all over to celebrate in this fantastic city!
Do you know any fun facts about Istanbul? Share them in the comments below!