Istanbul Travel Map
Istanbul,historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province (municipality) had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe (including the Asian side of the city) after London and Moscow. Istanbul is a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbour known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. Istanbul is a designated alpha world city.
During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330-395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395¨C1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). When the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29 October 1923, Ankara, which had previously served as the headquarters of the Turkish national movement during the Turkish War of Independence, was chosen as the new Turkish State's capital. Istanbul was chosen as a joint European Capital of Culture for 2010 and the European Capital of Sports for 2012. Istanbul is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The historic areas of the city were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The city covers 39 districts of the Istanbul province.
Architecture: Istanbul is primarily known for its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, but its buildings reflect the various peoples and empires that have ruled its predecessors. Genoese, Roman, and even Greek forms of architecture remain visible in Istanbul alongside their Ottoman counterparts. Similarly, while the Hagia Sophia and imperial mosques dominate much of the city's skyline, the city is also home to a number of historic churches and synagogues.
More than two thousand years following the departure of the Greeks, few examples of Istanbul's Greek architecture have survived. Perhaps the most prominent relic of the Greek era is Maiden's (Leander's) Tower. Residing on an islet in the Bosphorus just off the coast of uskudar, Maiden's Tower was first built by the Greeks in 411 BC to guide ships within the strait. Since then, however, the tower has undergone a number of enlargements and restorations, rendering its connection to the Greeks tenuous, and today merely serves as an observation point.
Examples of Roman architecture have proved themselves to be more durable. Obelisks from the Hippodrome of Constantinople, modeled after the Circus Maximus in Rome, are still visible in Sultanahmet Square. A section of the Valens Aqueduct, constructed in the late 4th century to carry water to the city, stands relatively intact over 970 meters (3,200 ft) in the west of the Fatih district. Similarly, the Walls of Constantinople, which were erected in stages well into the Byzantine period, are still visible along much of their original 4-mile (6.4 km) course from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn. Finally, the Column of Constantine, erected in 330 AD to mark the new Roman capital, still stands not far from the Hippodrome.
Airports: Istanbul has two international airports: The larger one is the Ataturk International Airport located in the Ye0ilkoy district on the European side, about 24 kilometres (15 mi) west from the city centre. When it was first built, the airport was situated at the western edge of the metropolitan area but now lies within the city bounds. The smaller one is the Sabiha Gokoen International Airport located in the Kurtkoy district on the Asian side, close to the Istanbul Park GP Racing Circuit. It is situated approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of the Asian side and 45 kilometres (28 mi) east of the European city centre.
Metro:Construction works of the Istanbul Metro (M2) began in 1992 and the first completed section between Taksim and 4. Levent entered service on 16 September 2000.This section of the line is 8.5 km (5.3 mi) long and has 6 stations. In 2000, there were 8 Alstom-built 4-car train sets in service, which ran every 5 minutes on average and transported 130,000 passengers daily. On 30 January 2009, the first train sets built by Eurotem entered service. Eurotem will build a total of 92 new wagons for the M2 line. As of 30 January 2009, a total of 34 train sets, each with 4 cars, were being used on the M2 line.
A northern extension from 4. Levent to Maslak was opened on 30 January 2009.The southern extension of the M2 line from Taksim to Yenikapi, across the Golden Horn on a bridge and underground through the historic peninsula, has thus far been completed up to the Sishane station in Beyoglu, which also entered service on 30 January 2009.At Yenikap the M2 network will intersect with the extended light metro and suburban train lines, and with the Marmaray tunnel.
At present, the M2 line has 10 stations in service on the European side of the city; while 6 new stations on the European side and 16 new stations on the Asian side are currently under construction. The trip between the Sishane station in Beyoglu and the Ataturk Oto Sanayi station in Maslak is 15.65 km (9.7 mi) long and takes 21 minutes.The total length of the European side of the M2 line will reach 18.36 km (11.4 mi) when all 16 stations from Haciosman to Yenikapi will be completed; not including the 936 metres long Golden Horn metro bridge, the 0.6 km long Taksim-Kabatas tunnel connection with the Seabus port, the 0.6 km long Yenikapi-Aksaray tunnel connection with the LRT network, and the 13.6 km long Marmaray tunnel.