Istanbul

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Posted by pompos 04/29/2009 @ 18:09

Tags : istanbul, turkey, europe, world

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Depeche Mode Cancel Istanbul Concert as Gahan Recovers - Rolling Stone
Additionally, the illness will also prevent Depeche Mode from performing tomorrow night, May 14th, in Istanbul. As of right now, the band's May 16th gig in Bucharest is still on their schedule. “Dave fell ill with a severe bout of gastroenteritis...
Istanbul bourse plans market-maker system-chairman - Forbes
ANKARA, May 13 (Reuters) - The Istanbul Stock Exchange wants to introduce a market-maker system for low-liquidity companies on the bourse, exchange Chairman Huseyin Erkan said on Wednesday. He also said in a speech that for low liquidity companies for...
DIARY - Turkey - to Oct 7, 2009 - Reuters
*ISTANBUL - President Abdullah Gul to attend a meeting of Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and then receive a delegation of the Seventh Eurasian Islamic Council. *ISTANBUL - Visiting Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva and Gul to meet....
Depeche Mode cancels Greek show - LiveDaily.com
The band's upcoming show in Istanbul also reportedly was shelved, according to a press release. "At this stage, Dave's primary concern is to return to full health and resume the tour as soon as possible," said the press release....
Water will flow from historic İstanbul fountains once again - Today's Zaman
New life is being given to historic Ottoman-era fountains, which are some of the most important sites in İstanbul, as part of a project aiming to turn the fountains, many of which have been abandoned to time, back into functioning relics from the past....
İDO increasing number of sea taxis plying İstanbul waters - Today's Zaman
As a result of extreme popularity and rising demand, the number of sea taxis, provided as part of services from the İstanbul Sea Autobus (İDO) system, will be increased from six to 35 in total. The İDO sea taxis, which provide an easy and convenient...
Egyptian puppet display in Istanbul - Hürriyet
ISTANBUL - An exhibit of unique puppets, masterpieces of Egypt's Mameluke Shadow Theater, is on display in Turkey for the first time as part of the ongoing International Istanbul Puppet Festival. The puppets, which have largely been produced from...
Tehran is developing rapidly: Istanbul mayor - Tehran Times
THERNA – Visiting Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas said on Tuesday that Tehran is developing quickly to change into a modern city and great strides are being made in this regard. Tehran has seen significant progress in its green space, transportation system...
Turkey - Factors to Watch on May 13 - Forbes
ISTANBUL, May 13 (Reuters) - Here are news stories, press reports and events that could affect Turkish financial markets on Wednesday. The lira was trading at 1.5540 to the dollar in early trade after closing at 1.5570 on Tuesday. Istanbul's main share...
Municipal worker wounded in urban demolition conflict - Hürriyet
ISTANBUL - A city worker was shot yesterday during an altercation with locals as municipal squads demolished 43 recently built houses and apartments in the Ümraniye neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul. The dwellings were erected just before the...

Istanbul

İstanbul is located in Turkey

Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul; historically Byzantium and later Constantinople; see the other names of Istanbul) is the largest city in Turkey, largest city proper and second largest metropolitan area in Europe, and fourth largest city proper in the world with a population of 12.6 million. Istanbul is also a megacity. Istanbul is the cultural and financial center of Turkey. The city covers 27 districts of the Istanbul province. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the Europe (Thrace) and on the Asia (Anatolia) side of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. In its long history, Istanbul served as the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). The city was chosen as joint European Capital of Culture for 2010. The historic areas of Istanbul were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.

The modern Turkish name İstanbul (IPA: or colloquial ) has been used to describe this city, in a range of different variants, from as far back as the 10th century; it has been the common name for the city in normal Turkish speech since before the conquest of 1453. Etymologically, it derives from the Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" or in the Aegean dialect "εἰς τὰν Πόλιν" (modern Greek "στην Πόλι" ), which means "in the city", "to the city" or "downtown".

Byzantium is the first known name of the city. In 667 B.C., this Doric colony was founded by settlers from the city-state of Megara, and they named the colony after their king Byzas. When Roman emperor Constantine I (Constantine the Great) made the city the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire on May 11, 330, he conferred on it the name Nova Roma ("New Rome"). Constantinople ("City of Constantine") was the name by which the city became instead more widely known. It is first attested in official use under emperor Theodosius II (408–450). It remained the principal official name of the city throughout the Byzantine period, and the most common name used for it in the West until the early 20th century.

The city has also been nicknamed "The City on Seven Hills" because the historic peninsula, the oldest part of the city, was built on seven hills (just like Rome), each of which bears a historic mosque. The hills are represented in the city's emblem with seven triangles, above which rise four minarets. Two of many other old nicknames of Istanbul are Vasilevousa Polis (the Queen of Cities), which rose from the city's importance and wealth throughout the Middle Ages; and Dersaadet, originally Der-i Saadet (the Door to Happiness) which was first used towards the end of 19th century and is still remembered today.

With the Turkish Postal Service Law of 28 March 1930, the Turkish authorities officially requested foreigners to adopt Istanbul as the sole name also in their own languages.

In 2008, during the construction works of the Yenikapı subway station and the Marmaray tunnel at the historic peninsula on the European side, a previously unknown Neolithic settlement dating from circa 6500 BC has been discovered. The first human settlement on the Anatolian side, the Fikirtepe mound, is from the Copper Age period, with artifacts dating from 5500–3500 BC. In nearby Kadıköy (Chalcedon) a port settlement dating back to the Phoenicians has been discovered. Cape Moda in Chalcedon was the first location which the Greek settlers from Megara chose to colonize in 685 BC, prior to colonizing Byzantion on the European side of the Bosphorus under the command of King Byzas in 667 BC. Byzantion was established on the site of an ancient port settlement named Lygos, founded by Thracian tribes between the 13th and 11th centuries BC, along with the neighbouring Semistra, of which Plinius had mentioned in his historical accounts. Only a few walls and substructures belonging to Lygos have survived to date, near the Seraglio Point (Turkish: Sarayburnu), where the famous Topkapı Palace now stands. During the period of Byzantion, the Acropolis used to stand where the Topkapı Palace stands today.

After siding with Pescennius Niger against the victorious Roman emperor Septimius Severus, the city was besieged by the Romans and suffered extensive damage in 196 AD. Byzantium was rebuilt by Severus and quickly regained its previous prosperity, being temporarily renamed as Augusta Antonina by the emperor, in honor of his son.

The location of Byzantium attracted Constantine I in 324 after a prophetic dream was said to have identified the location of the city; but the true reason behind this prophecy was probably Constantine's final victory over Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) on the Bosphorus, on 18 September, 324, which ended the civil war between the Roman Co-Emperors, and brought an end to the final vestiges of the Tetrarchy system, during which Nicomedia (present-day İzmit, 100 km (62 mi) east of Istanbul) was the most senior Roman capital city. Byzantium (now renamed as Nova Roma which eventually became Constantinopolis, i.e. "The City of Constantine") was officially proclaimed the new capital of the Roman Empire six years later, in 330. Following the death of Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent partition of the Roman Empire between his two sons, Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. As well as being the centre of an imperial dynasty, the unique position of Constantinople at the centre of two continents made the city a magnet for international commerce, culture and diplomacy. The Byzantine Empire was distinctly Greek in culture and became the centre of Greek Orthodox Christianity, while its capital was adorned with many magnificent churches, including the Hagia Sophia, once the world's largest cathedral. The seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, still remains in the Fener (Greek: Phanar) district of Istanbul.

In 1204, the Fourth Crusade was launched to capture Jerusalem, but had instead turned on Constantinople, which was sacked and desecrated. The city subsequently became the centre of the Catholic Latin Empire, created by the crusaders to replace the Orthodox Byzantine Empire, which was divided into a number of splinter states, of which the Empire of Nicaea was to recapture Constantinople in 1261 under the command of Michael VIII Palaeologus.

In the last decades of the Byzantine Empire, the city had decayed as the Byzantine state became increasingly isolated and financially bankrupt, its population had dwindled to some thirty or forty thousand people whilst large sections remained uninhabited. Due to the ever increasing inward turn the Byzantines took, many facets of their surrounding empire were now falling apart, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Ottoman Turks began a strategy by which they took selected towns and smaller cities over time, enveloping Bursa in 1326, Nicomedia in 1337, Gallipoli in 1354, and finally Adrianople in 1362. This essentially cut off Constantinople from its main supply routes, strangling it slowly.

On 29 May 1453, Sultan Mehmed II "the Conqueror" captured Constantinople after a 53-day siege (during which the last Roman/Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI, died near the Porta Aurea while defending the city) and proclaimed that Constantinople was now the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mehmed's first duty was to rejuvenate the city economically, creating the Grand Bazaar and inviting the fleeing Orthodox and Catholic inhabitants to return. Captured prisoners were freed to settle in the city whilst provincial governors in Rumelia and Anatolia were ordered to send four thousand families to settle in the city, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew, to form a unique cosmopolitan society. The Sultan also endowed the city with various architectural monuments, including the Topkapı Palace and the Eyüp Sultan Mosque. Religious foundations were established to fund the construction of grand imperial mosques (such as the Fatih Mosque which was built on the spot where the Church of the Holy Apostles once stood), adjoined by their associated schools, hospitals and public baths. Suleiman the Magnificent's reign of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566 was a period of great artistic and architectural achievements. The famous architect Sinan designed many mosques and other grand buildings in the city, while Ottoman arts of ceramics, calligraphy and miniature also flourished.

When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the capital was moved from Istanbul to Ankara. In the early years of the republic, Istanbul was overlooked in favour of the new capital. However, starting from the late 1940s and early 1950s, Istanbul underwent great structural change, as new public squares (such as Taksim Square), boulevards and avenues were constructed throughout the city; sometimes at the expense of the demolition of many historical buildings. Starting from the 1970s, the population of Istanbul began to rapidly increase, as people from Anatolia migrated to the city in order to find employment in the many new factories that were constructed at the outskirts of the sprawling metropolis. This sudden sharp rise in the city's population caused a large demand for housing development, and many previously outlying villages and forests became engulfed into the greater metropolitan area of Istanbul. Illegal construction, combined with corner-cutting methods, have accounted for the reason why 65% of the buildings in Istanbul are built without proper planning. The concerns have increased due to the serious nature of the Izmit earthquake of August 17, 1999.

Istanbul is located in the north-west Marmara Region of Turkey. It encloses the southern Bosphorus which places the city on two continents—the western portion of Istanbul is in Europe, while the eastern portion is in Asia. The city boundaries cover a surface area of 1,830.92 square kilometres (707 sq mi), while the metropolitan region, or the Province of Istanbul, covers 6,220 square kilometres (2,402 sq mi).

Istanbul is situated near the North Anatolian fault line, which runs from northern Anatolia to the Marmara Sea. Two tectonic plates, the African and the Eurasian, push against each other here. This fault line has been responsible for several deadly earthquakes in the region throughout history. In 1509 a catastrophic earthquake caused a tsunami which broke over the sea-walls of the city, destroying over 100 mosques and killing 10,000 people. In 1766 the Eyüp Sultan Mosque was largely destroyed. The 1894 earthquake caused the collapse of many parts of the Grand Bazaar. A devastating earthquake on August 17, 1999, with its epicenter in nearby Izmit, left 18,000 dead and many more homeless. In all of these earthquakes, the devastating effects are a result of the building density and poor construction of buildings. Seismologists predict another earthquake, possibly measuring magnitude 7.0, occurring before 2025.

Istanbul like the Marmara region it is situated in is characterized by a temperate climate as well as a "transitional climate", midway between that of the oceanic climate of the Black Sea, the humid continental climate of the Balkan peninsula and the mediterranean climate of the southwest. This is also reflected in its plant geography since flora of these three regions flourish here. Istanbul is one of the provinces that best illustrates this aspect of the Marmara region. Thanks to the constantly very humid climate of Istanbul, plants of the Europe-Siberia region are concentrated here, especially in the northern areas near the Black Sea coast. An increase in mediterranean flora is observed in the warmer areas to the south of the city especially on the Princes' Islands, the only place in Istanbul with a mediterranean vegetation. With around 2500 different natural plant species, Istanbul alone puts European countries such as the whole of the United Kingdom in the shade in this respect. Even more importantly, this means that in Istanbul approximately one-fourth of the more than ten thousand documented plants that grow naturally in Turkey; some of these plants are endemic, in other words, they live only in Istanbul and nowhere else in the whole world.

Istanbul has a temperate climate, though a plausible argument can be made that under the Köppen climate classification, Istanbul has a humid subtropical climate.

In summer the weather in Istanbul is hot and humid, the temperature between June and September averaging 28°C (82°F). During winter it is cold, wet and often snowy, averaging 5°C (42°F). Average annual precipitation is 693 mm (27.2 inches). Summer is by far the driest season, although there is no real summer drought as rain does occur all year round, and so the climate cannot be considered mediterranean. Snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two, but it can be heavy once it snows. The city is also quite windy, having an average wind speed of 17 km/h (11 mph).

To the west, to the east and to the north, Istanbul extends far beyond its historical quarters. The tallest office and residential towers rise particularly in the quarters of Levent, Etiler and Maslak on the European side, and in the quarter of Kozyatağı on the Asian side. Due to Istanbul's exponential growth during the second half of the 20th century, a significant portion of the city consists of gecekondus, a Turkish word created in the 1940s meaning "built overnight" and refers to the illegally constructed squatter buildings that comprise entire neighborhoods and run rampant in the outskirts of Turkey’s largest cities; especially Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, and Bursa. According to the official definition stated in the Gecekondus Act of 1966, these neighborhoods are typically built on abandoned land or on lands owned by others, without the permission of the landowner or the Municipality, and the construction methods do not follow the official rules and regulations.

Istanbul Province has 32 districts, of which 27 form the city proper of Istanbul, also called Greater Istanbul, administered by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (or Municipality of Metropolitan Istanbul) (Turkish: İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi).

The mayor of Istanbul, currently Kadir Topbaş, serves as the prefect of the city. The governor of Istanbul province is Muammer Güler. Istanbul is a home rule city and municipal elections are mainly partisan. The metropolitan model of governance has been used with the establishment of metropolitan administration in 1930. The metropolitan council is responsible for all authority when it comes to making city decisions. The metropolitan government structure consists of three main organs: (1) The Metropolitan Mayor (elected every five years), (2) The Metropolitan Council (decision making body with the mayor, district Mayors, and one fifth of the district municipal councilors), (3) The metropolitan executive committee. There are three types of local authorities: (1) municipalities, (2) special provincial administrations, (3) village administrations. Among the local authorities, municipalities are gaining greater importance with the rise in urbanization.

The population of the metropolis more than tripled during the 25 years between 1980 and 2005. Roughly 70% of all Istanbulites live in the European section and around 30% in the Asian section. Due to high unemployment in the southeast of Turkey, many people from that region migrated to Istanbul, where they established themselves in the outskirts of the city. Migrants, predominantly from eastern Anatolia arrive in Istanbul expecting improved living conditions and employment, which usually end with little success. This results each year with new gecekondus at the outskirts of the city, which are later developed into neighbourhoods and integrated into the greater metropolis.

The city has a population of 11,372,613 residents according to the latest count as of 2007, and is one of the largest cities in the world today. The rate of population growth in the city is currently at 3.45% a year on average, mainly due to the influx of people from the surrounding rural areas. Istanbul's population density of 2,742 people per square mile (1,700 per square km) far exceeds Turkey's 130 people per square mile (81 people per square km).

The following overview shows the numbers of inhabitants by year. Population tallies up to 1914 are estimated with variations of up to 50% depending upon researcher. The numbers from 1927 to 2000 are results of censuses. The numbers of 2005 and 2006 are based on computer simulation forecasts. The doubling of the population of Istanbul between 1980 and 1985 is due to a natural increase in population as well as the expansion of municipal limits.

The urban landscape of Istanbul is shaped by many communities. The religion with the largest community of followers is Islam. Religious minorities include Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Christians, Catholic Levantines and Sephardic Jews. According to the 2000 census, there were 2691 active mosques, 123 active churches and 26 active synagogues in Istanbul; as well as 109 Muslim cemeteries and 57 non-Muslim cemeteries. Some districts have sizeable populations of these ethnic groups, such as the Kumkapı district which has a sizeable Armenian population, the Balat district which has a sizeable Jewish population, the Fener district which has a sizeable Greek population, and some neighbourhoods in the Nişantaşı and Beyoğlu districts which have sizeable Levantine populations. In some quarters, such as Kuzguncuk, an Armenian church sits next to a synagogue, and on the other side of the road a Greek Orthodox church is found beside a mosque.

The seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church is located in the Fener (Phanar) district. Also based in Istanbul are the archbishop of the Turkish-Orthodox community, an Armenian archbishop, and the Turkish Grand-Rabbi. A number of places reflect past movements of different communities into Istanbul, most notably Arnavutköy (Albanian village), Polonezköy (Polish village) and Yenibosna (New Bosnia).

The Muslims are the largest religious group in Istanbul. Among them, the Sunnis form the most populous sect, while a number of the local Muslims are Alevis. In 2007 there were 2,944 active mosques in Istanbul.

The city has been the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate since the 4th century AD, and continues to serve as the seat of some other Orthodox churches, such as the Turkish Orthodox Church and the Armenian Patriarchate. The city was formerly also the seat of the Bulgarian Exarchate, before its autocephaly was recognized by other Orthodox churches.

The everyday life of the Christians, particularly the Greeks and Armenians living in Istanbul changed significantly following the bitter conflicts between these ethnic groups and the Turks during the fall of the Ottoman Empire, which began in the 1820s and continued for a century. The conflicts reached their culmination in the decade between 1912 and 1922; during the Balkan Wars, the First World War and the Turkish War of Independence. The city's Greek Orthodox community was exempted from the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923. However, a series of special restrictions and taxes during the years of the Second World War (see, e.g., Varlık Vergisi), and the Istanbul Pogrom of 1955 which caused the deaths of 15 Greeks and the injury of 32 others, greatly increased emigration from Istanbul to Greece. In 1964, all Greeks without Turkish citizenship residing in Turkey (around 12,000) were deported. Today, most of Turkey's remaining Greek and Armenian minorities live in or near Istanbul. The number of the local Turkish Armenians in Istanbul today amount to approximately 45,000 (not including the nearly 40,000 Armenian workers in Turkey who came from Armenia after 1991 and mostly live and work in Istanbul); while the Greek community, which amounted to 150,000 citizens in 1924, currently amounts to approximately 4,000 citizens. There are also 60,000 Istanbulite Greeks who currently live in Greece but continue to retain their Turkish citizenship. Beside the mostly Catholic Levantines, who are the descendants of European (Genoese, Venetian and French) traders who established trading outposts during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, there is also a small, scattered number of Bosphorus Germans living in Istanbul.

The Sephardic Jews have lived in the city for over 500 years, see the history of the Jews in Turkey. They fled the Iberian Peninsula during the Spanish Inquisition of 1492, when they were forced to convert to Christianity after the fall of the Moorish Kingdom of Andalucia. The Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (1481-1512) sent a sizable fleet to Spain under the command of Kemal Reis in order to save the Sephardic Jews. More than 200,000 fled first to Tangier, Algiers, Genova and Marseille, later to Salonica and finally to Istanbul. The Sultan granted over 93,000 of these Spanish Jews to take refuge in the Ottoman Empire. Another large group of Sephardic Jews came from southern Italy which was under Spanish control. The İtalyan Sinagogu (Italian Synagogue) in Galata is mostly frequented by the descendants of these Italian Jews in Istanbul, where more than 20,000 Sephardic Jews still remain today. Altogether 20 active synagogues are to be found in the city, the most important of them being the Neve Shalom Synagogue inaugurated in 1951, in the Beyoğlu quarter. The Turkish Grand Rabbi in Istanbul (currently Ishak Haleva) presides over community affairs. The Sephardic Jews of Iberia and Italy contributed much to the rising power of the Ottoman Empire by introducing new ideas, methods and craftsmanship. The first Gutenberg press in Istanbul was established by the Sephardic Jews in 1493, who excelled in many areas, particularly medicine, trade and banking. There is also a relatively smaller and more recent community of Ashkenazi Jews in Istanbul who continue to live in the city since the 19th century. A second large wave of Ashkenazi Jews came to Istanbul during the 1930s and 1940s following the rise of Nazism in Germany which persecuted the Ashkenazi Jews of central and eastern Europe.

Istanbul has always been the center of the country's economic life because of its location as an international junction of land and sea trade routes. The opening of specific markets in the city during the 1980s further strengthened the city's economic status. Inaugurated at the beginning of 1986, the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) is the sole securities market of Turkey.

Today, the city generates 55% of Turkey's trade and 45% of the country's wholesale trade, and generates 21.2% of Turkey's gross national product. Istanbul contributes 40% of all taxes collected in Turkey and produces 27.5% of Turkey's national product. In 2005 the City of Istanbul had a GDP of $133 billion. In 2005 companies based in Istanbul made exports worth $41,397,000,000 and imports worth $69,883,000,000; which corresponded to 56.6% and 60.2% of Turkey's exports and imports, respectively, in that year.

According to Forbes magazine, Istanbul had a total of 35 billionaires as of March 2008 (up from 25 in 2007), ranking 4th in the world behind Moscow (74 billionaires), New York City (71 billionaires) and London (36 billionaires).

Istanbul is also Turkey's largest industrial center. It employs approximately 20% of Turkey's industrial labor and contributes 38% of Turkey's industrial workspace. Istanbul and its surrounding province produce cotton, fruit, olive oil, silk, and tobacco. Food processing, textile production, oil products, rubber, metal ware, leather, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics, glass, machinery, automotive, transport vehicles, paper and paper products, and alcoholic drinks are among the city's major industrial products.

Istanbul is one of the most important tourism spots of Turkey. There are thousands of hotels and other tourist oriented industries in the city, catering to both vacationers and visiting professionals. In 2006 a total of 23,148,669 tourists visited Turkey, most of whom entered the country through the airports and seaports of Istanbul and Antalya. The total number of tourists who entered Turkey through Atatürk International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul reached 5,346,658, rising from 4,849,353 in 2005. Istanbul is also one of the world's major conference destinations and is an increasingly popular choice for the world's leading international associations.

The city has many public and private hospitals, clinics and laboratories within its bounds and numerous medical research centers. Many of these facilities have high technology equipment, which has contributed to the recent upsurge in "medical tourism" to Istanbul, particularly from West European countries like the United Kingdom and Germany where governments send patients with lower income to the city for the relatively inexpensive service of high-tech medical treatment and operations. Istanbul has particularly become a global destination for laser eye surgery and plastic surgery. The city also has an Army Veterans Hospital in the military medical center.

Pollution-related health problems increase especially in the winter, when the combustion of heating fuels increase. The rising number of new cars in the city and the slow development of public transportation often cause urban smog conditions. Mandatory use of unleaded gas was scheduled to begin only in January 2006.

The first water supply systems which were built in Istanbul date back to the foundation of the city. Two of the greatest aqueducts built in the Roman period are the Mazulkemer Aqueduct and the Valens Aqueduct. These aqueducts were built in order to channel water from the Halkalı area in the western edge of the city to the Beyazıt district in the city center, which was known as the Forum Tauri in the Roman period. After reaching the city center, the water was later collected in the city's numerous cisterns, such as the famous Philoxenos (Binbirdirek) Cistern and the Basilica (Yerebatan) Cistern. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent commissioned Sinan, his engineer and architect-in-chief, to improve the water needs of the city. Sinan constructed the Kırkçeşme Water Supply System in 1555. In later years, with the aim of responding to the ever-increasing public demand, water from various springs was channeled to the public fountains by means of small supply lines; see German Fountain.

Today, Istanbul has a chlorinated and filtered water supply and a sewage disposal system managed by the government agency İSKİ. There are also several private sector organizations distributing clean water. Electricity distribution services are covered by the state-owned TEK. The first electricity production plant in the city, Silahtarağa Termik Santrali, was established in 1914 and continued to supply electricity until 1983.

The Ottoman Ministry of Post and Telegraph was established in the city on 23 October 1840. The first post office was the Postahane-i Amire near the courtyard of Yeni Mosque. In 1876 the first international mailing network between Istanbul and the lands beyond the vast Ottoman Empire was established. In 1901 the first money transfers were made through the post offices and the first cargo services became operational. Samuel Morse received his first ever patent for the telegraph in 1847, at the old Beylerbeyi Palace (the present Beylerbeyi Palace was built in 1861–1865 on the same location) in Istanbul, which was issued by Sultan Abdülmecid who personally tested the new invention. Following this successful test, installation works of the first telegraph line between Istanbul and Edirne began on 9 August 1847. In 1855 the Telegraph Administration was established. In July 1881 the first telephone circuit in Istanbul was established between the Ministry of Post and Telegraph in Soğukçeşme and the Postahane-i Amire in Yenicami. On 23 May 1909, the first manual telephone exchange with a 50 line capacity was established in the Büyük Postane (Grand Post Office) of Sirkeci.

Istanbul has two international airports: The larger one is the Atatürk International Airport located in the Yeşilköy district on the European side, about 24 kilometres (15 mi) west from the city center. When it was first built, the airport used to be at the western edge of the metropolitan area but now lies within the city bounds.

The smaller one is the Sabiha Gökçen International Airport located in the Kurtköy 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 center.

The E80 and Trans European Motorway (TEM) are the three main motorway connections between Europe and Turkey. The motorway network around Istanbul is well developed and is constantly being extended. Motorways lead east to Ankara and west to Edirne.

There are also two express highways circling the city. The older one, the O1, is mostly used for inner city traffic; while the more recent one, the TEM highway, is mostly used by intercity or intercontinental traffic. The Bosphorus Bridge on O1 and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge on TEM establish the motorway connection between the European and the Asian sides of the Bosphorus.

Büyükdere Avenue is the main artery that runs through the central business districts of Levent and Maslak on the European side, and is also accessible through a number of subway stations.

Sea transport is vital for Istanbul, as the city is practically surrounded by sea on all sides: the Sea of Marmara, the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. Many Istanbulites live on the Asian side of the city but work on the European side (or vice-versa) and the city's famous commuter ferries form the backbone of the daily transition between the two parts of the city - even more so than the two suspension bridges which span the Bosphorus. The commuter ferries, along with the high speed catamaran Seabus (Deniz Otobüsü), also form the main connection between the city and the Princes' Islands.

İDO (İstanbul Deniz Otobüsleri - Istanbul Sea Buses) was established in 1987 and operates the high speed catamaran Seabus which run between the European and Asian parts of Istanbul, also connecting the city with the Princes' Islands and other destinations in the Sea of Marmara. The Yenikapı High Speed Car Ferry Port on the European side, and the Pendik High Speed Car Ferry Port on the Asian side, are where the high speed catamaran "car ferries" are based. The car ferries which operate between Yenikapı (on the European side of Istanbul) and Bandırma reduce the driving time between Istanbul and İzmir and other major destinations on Turkey's Aegean coast by several hours; while those which operate between Yenikapı or Pendik (on the Asian side of Istanbul) and Yalova significantly reduce the driving time between Istanbul and Bursa or Antalya.

The port of Istanbul is the most important one in the country. The old port on the Golden Horn serves primarily for personal navigation, while Karaköy port in Galata is used by the large cruise liners. Regular services as well as cruises from both Karaköy and Eminönü exist to several port cities in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. Istanbul's main cargo port is located in the Harem district on the Asian side of the city.

Istanbul also has several marinas of varying size for personal navigation, the largest of which are the Ataköy Marina on the European side and Kalamış Marina on the Asian side.

In 1883, a Belgian entrepreneur, Georges Nagelmackers, began rail service between Paris and Constantinople, using a steamship to ferry passengers from Varna to Constantinople. In 1889, a rail line was completed going through Bucharest to Constantinople, making the whole journey via land possible. The route was known as the Orient Express, made even more famous by the works of Agatha Christie and Graham Greene.

Today, the Sirkeci Terminal of the Turkish State Railways (TCDD), which was originally opened as the terminus of the Orient Express, is the terminus of all the lines on the European side and the main connection node of the Turkish railway network with the rest of Europe. Currently, international connections are provided by the line running between Istanbul and Thessaloniki, Greece, and the Bosphorus Express serving daily between Sirkeci and Bucharest, Romania. Lines to Sofia, Belgrade, Budapest, and Chişinău are established over the Bosphorus Express connection to Bucharest. .

Beyond the Bosphorus, the Haydarpaşa Terminal on the Asian side serves lines running several times daily to Ankara, and less frequently to other destinations in Anatolia. The railway networks on the European and Asian sides are currently connected by the train ferry across the Bosphorus, which will be replaced by an underwater tunnel connection with the completion of the Marmaray project, scheduled for 2012. Marmaray (Bosphorus Rail Tunnel) will also connect the metro lines on the European and Asian parts of the city. Haydarpaşa Terminal was originally opened as the terminus of the Istanbul-Baghdad and Istanbul-Damascus-Medina railways.

By the end of 1990, a historic tram was put in service along İstiklal Avenue between Taksim and Tünel, which is a single 1.6 km-long line.

On 1 November 2003, another nostalgic tram line (T3) was reopened on the Anatolian part of Istanbul between Kadıköy and Moda. It has 10 stations on a 2.6 km long route. The trip takes 21 minutes.

A fast tram (T1) was put in service in 1992 on standard gauge track with modern cars, connecting Sirkeci with Topkapı. The line was extended on one end from Topkapı to Zeytinburnu in March 1994, and on the other end from Sirkeci to Eminönü in April 1996. On 30 January 2005 it was extended from Eminönü to Fındıklı, crossing the Golden Horn through the Galata Bridge for the first time after 44 years. A final extension to Kabataş was opened in June 2006.

The line has 24 stations on a length of 14 km. Service was initially operated with 22 LRT vehicles built by ABB, now reassigned to other lines; while stations were provided with temporary high platforms. These vehicles were replaced by 55 low-floor Bombardier Flexity Swift trams in 2003. An entire trip takes 42 minutes. The daily transport capacity is 155,000 passengers. The amount of investment totaled US$110 million.

In September 2006, a second tram line (T2) was added, running west from Zeytinburnu to Bağcılar. Service on this line is operated with 14 ABB LRT cars. Stations have high platforms at the level of the car floor.

Istanbul is served by two underground funicular railways, of very different ages and styles.

The older of these lines is the Tünel (1875), which is the oldest subterranean railway line in continental Europe, and the second oldest line in the world after the Underground (1863) in London (arguably third in the world, if one counts Brooklyn, New York's abandoned Atlantic Avenue Tunnel). The Tünel is 573 m long with an altitude difference of 60 m and no intermediate stations between Karaköy and Tünel Square. It has been continuously in service since 1875. Two trains run on a single rail every 3.5 minutes, and a trip takes 1.5 minutes. 15,000 people are transported daily.

A second funicular line, the Kabataş-Taksim Funicular, opened in June 2006, connecting Kabataş and Taksim. This system connects the Seabus station and the tram stop in Kabataş to the metro station at Taksim Square. It is about 600 meters long and climbs approximately 60 meters in 110 seconds.

The Istanbul LRT is a light rail transit system consisting of 2 lines. The first line (M1) began service on 3 September 1989 between Aksaray and Kartaltepe. The line was further developed step-by-step and reached Atatürk Airport on December 20, 2002. The other line (T4) was opened in 2007 between Edirnekapı and Mescid-i Selam. There are 36 stations, including 12 underground and 3 viaduct stations, on the line's 32 km length. The lines are totally segregated from other traffic without level crossings and run underground for 10.2 km. Service is operated with LRT vehicles built by ABB in 1989.

The construction of the modern underground railway network of Istanbul began in 1992. The first line (M2) between Taksim and 4th Levent went into service on 16 September 2000. This line is 8.5 km long and has 6 stations, which all look similar but are in different colors. Currently there are 8 French built 4-car trains in service, which run every 5 minutes on average and transport 130,000 passengers daily. A trip along the entire line takes 12 minutes. The entire subway line was built by the cut-and-cover method to withstand an earthquake of up to 9.0 on the Richter magnitude scale.

A northern extension from 4th Levent to Ayazağa (Maslak) was opened in January 2009. The southern section of the metro from Taksim to Yenikapı, across the Golden Horn on a bridge and underground through the old city, has thus far been completed up to the Şişhane stop and is expected to become fully operational in 2009. It will be 5.4 km long, with four stations. At Yenikapı it will intersect with the extended light metro and the suburban train lines.

On the Asian side, construction of the line from Kadıköy to Kartal continues. The Marmaray tunnel (Bosporus undersea railway tunnel) will connect the metro lines of the Asian and European parts of the city. According to the scheduled construction timeline, the tunnel will enter service in 2012.

A railway line runs between the main train station of the European part, the Sirkeci Terminal, and the Halkalı district towards the west of the city center, with 18 stations along its 30 km length. A single trip takes 48 minutes. Another suburban line runs on the Anatolian part from the main train station, the Haydarpaşa Terminal, to Gebze at the eastern end of the city. The 44 km long line has 28 stations and the trip takes 65 minutes. Electrified trains transport 13,000 passengers hourly on each line.

Throughout its long history, Istanbul has acquired a reputation for being a cultural and ethnic melting pot. As a result, there are many historical mosques, churches, synagogues, palaces, castles and towers to visit in the city. Some of these historical structures, which draw millions to the city every year, reflect the heart and soul of Istanbul.

The famous Maiden's (Leander's) Tower, one of the symbols of Istanbul, was originally built by the ancient Athenian general Alcibiades in 408 BC to control the movements of the Persian ships in the Bosphorus strait.

The most important monuments of Roman architecture in the city include the Column of Constantine (Turkish: Çemberlitaş), which was erected in 330 by Constantine the Great for marking the declaration of the new capital city of the Roman Empire. The Mazulkemer Aqueduct, the Valens Aqueduct, the Column of the Goths at the Seraglio Point, the Milion which served for calculating the distances between Constantinople and other cities of the Roman Empire, and the Hippodrome of Constantinople which was built following the model of the Circus Maximus in Rome are other Roman era structures in the city. Construction of the Walls of Constantinople began under Constantine the Great, who enlarged the previously existing walls of Byzantium in order to defend the new Roman capital city which quickly grew following its proclamation as Nova Roma. A new set of walls was built further west during the reign of Theodosius II, and rebuilt after an earthquake in 447 in their current shape.

The early Byzantine architecture followed the classical Roman model of domes and arches, but further improved these architectural concepts, as evidenced with the Hagia Sophia, which is the largest structure on Sultanahmet Square in the Eminönü district. The Hagia Sophia was designed by Isidorus and Anthemius as the third church to rise on this location, between 532 and 537, following the Nika riots (532) during which the second church was destroyed (the first church, known as the Megala Ekklessia ("Great Church") was inaugurated by Constantius II in 360; the second church was inaugurated by Theodosius II in 405, while the third and current one was inaugurated by Justinian in 537). The Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (commonly known as the Little Hagia Sophia), which was the first church built by Justinian in Constantinople and edificed between 527 and 536, had earlier signaled such an improvement in the design of domed buildings, which require complex solutions for carrying the structure. The present-day Hagia Irene (which was originally built by Constantine in the 4th century, but was later enlarged by Justinian in the 6th century) and the Basilica Cistern are also from this period.

The most important churches which were built after the Byzantines recovered Constantinople from the Latin Crusaders in 1261 include the Pammakaristos Church and Chora Church. Also in this period, the Genoese Podestà of Galata, Montano de Marinis, built the Palazzo del Comune (1316), an identical copy of the San Giorgio Palace in Genoa, which still stands in ruins on a parallel side street to the north of Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Street) in Galata, together with its adjacent buildings and numerous Genoese houses from the early 1300s. The Genoese also built the Galata Tower, which they named as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ), at the highest point of the citadel of Galata, in 1348.

The Ottoman Turks built the Anadoluhisarı on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in 1394, and the Rumelihisarı at the opposite (European) shore, in 1452, a year before the conquest of Constantinople. The main purpose of these castles, armed with the long range Balyemez (Faule Metze) cannons, was to block the sea traffic of the Bosphorus and prevent the support ships from the Genoese colonies on the Black Sea ports, such as Caffa, Sinop, and Amasra, from reaching Constantinople and helping the Byzantines during the Turkish siege of the city. The first mosque on the European side of Istanbul was built inside the Rumeli Castle in 1452.

Following the Ottoman conquest of the city, Sultan Mehmed II initiated a wide scale reconstruction plan, which included the construction of grand buildings such as the Topkapı Palace, Grand Bazaar and the Yedikule (Seven Towers) Castle which guarded the main entrance gate of the city, the Porta Aurea (Golden Gate). The first grand mosque which was built in the city proper was the Eyüp Sultan Mosque in around 1459. The mosque was built on the site of the grave of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad who had died outside the land walls of Constantinople (walls of Theodosius II) in 669, during the early skirmishes which preluded the Arab siege (674-678) to take the city. The first imperial mosque inside the city walls was the Fatih Mosque (1470) which was built on the site of the Church of the Holy Apostles, an important Byzantine church originally edificed in the time of Constantine the Great. Many other imperial mosques were built in the following centuries, such as the famous Süleymaniye Mosque (1557) which was ordered by Suleiman the Magnificent and designed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan, and the famous Sultan Ahmet Mosque (1616) which is also known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles that adorn its interior. In the centuries following Mehmed II, many new important buildings, such as the Süleymaniye Mosque, Sultanahmet Mosque, Yeni Mosque and numerous others were constructed.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, traditional Ottoman architectural styles were gradually replaced by European styles, such as the Baroque style interiors of the Aynalıkavak Palace (1677–1679) and Nuruosmaniye Mosque (1748–1755, the first Baroque style mosque in the city, also famous for its Baroque fountain), and the 18th century Baroque additions to the Harem section of the Topkapı Palace. Following the Tanzimat reforms which effectively started Turkey's Europeanization process in 1839, new palaces and mosques were built in Neoclassical, Baroque and Rococo styles, or a mixture of all three, such as the Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace and Ortaköy (Mecidiye) Mosque.

Starting from the early 19th century, the areas around İstiklal Avenue were filled with grandiose embassy buildings belonging to prominent European states, and rows of European (mostly Neoclassical and later Art Nouveau) style buildings started to appear on both flanks of the avenue. Istanbul especially became a major center of the Art Nouveau (Liberty) movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with famous architects of this style like Raimondo D'Aronco building many palaces and mansions in the city proper and on the Princes' Islands. His most important works in the city include several buildings of the Yıldız Palace complex, and the Botter House on İstiklal Avenue. The famous Camondo Stairs on Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Street) in Karaköy (Galata) is also a beautiful example of Art Nouveau architecture. Other important examples are the Hıdiv Kasrı (Khedive Palace) on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, Flora Han in Sirkeci, and Frej Apartmanı in the Şişhane quarter of Beyoğlu.

The urban landscape is constantly changing. In the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods, the city was largely made up of the historic peninsula of Constantinople, with the citadel of Galata (also called Sykae or Pera, present-day Beyoğlu) at north, and Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) and Chalcedon (Kadıköy) at east, across the Bosphorus. These were all independent cities back then. The present City of Istanbul can be considered the metropolitan area of old Constantinople, encompassing every single settlement around the original city, and expanding even further with the establishment of new neighbourhoods and districts since the 19th century.

Until the early 19th century, the city walls of Galata, the medieval Genoese citadel, used to stand. These Genoese fortifications, of which only the Galata Tower stands today, were demolished in the early 1800s to give way for a northwards expansion of the city, towards the neighbourhoods of Beşiktaş, Şişli, Nişantaşı, and beyond.

In the last decades, numerous tall structures were built around the city to accommodate a rapid growth in population. Surrounding towns were absorbed into Istanbul as the city rapidly expanded outwards. The tallest highrise office and residential buildings are mostly located in the northern areas of the European side, and especially in the business and shopping districts of Levent, Maslak, and Etiler which are situated between the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. Levent and Etiler also have numerous upmarket shopping malls, like Kanyon, Metrocity, Akmerkez, Mayadrom and Mayadrom Uptown. The headquarters of Turkey's largest companies and banks are also located in this area.

Starting from the second half of the 20th century, the Asian side of Istanbul, which was originally a tranquil place full of seaside summer residences and elegant chalet mansions surrounded by lush and vast umbrella pine gardens, experienced a massive urban growth. The construction of the long, wide and elegant Bağdat Avenue, with its rows of upscale shops and restaurants, contributed much to the initial expansion in the area. The fact that these areas were largely empty until the 1960s also provided the chance for developing better infrastructure and a tidier urban planning when compared with most other residential areas in the city. But the real expansion of the Asian side came with the opening of Ankara Asfaltı, the Asian extension of the E5 highway, which is located to the north of Bağdat Avenue, parallel to the railway line. Another important factor in the recent growth of the Asian side of the city was migration from Anatolia. Today, more than 1/3 of the city's population live in the Asian side of Istanbul.

As a result of Istanbul's exponential growth during the second half of the 20th century, a significant portion of the city's outskirts consists of gecekondus, a Turkish word created in the 1940s meaning ‘built overnight’ and referring to the illegally constructed squatter buildings that comprise entire neighbourhoods and run rampant outside the historic centers of Turkey's largest cities, especially Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, and Bursa. At present, some gecekondu areas are being gradually demolished and replaced by modern mass-housing compounds.

Istanbul is becoming increasingly colorful in terms of its rich social, cultural, and commercial activities. While world famous pop stars fill stadiums, activities like opera, ballet and theater continue throughout the year. During seasonal festivals, world famous orchestras, chorale ensembles, concerts and jazz legends can be found often playing to a full house. The Istanbul International Film Festival is one of the most important film festivals in Europe, while the Istanbul Biennial is another major event of fine arts.

Istanbul Modern, frequently hosts the exhibitions of renowned Turkish and foreign artists. Pera Museum and Sakıp Sabancı Museum have hosted the exhibitions of world famous artists and are among the most important private museums in the city. The Doğançay Museum - Turkey’s first contemporary art museum - is dedicated almost exclusively to the work of its founder Burhan Doğançay. The Rahmi M. Koç Museum on the Golden Horn is an industrial museum that exhibits historic industrial equipment such as cars and locomotives from the 1800s and early 1900s, as well as boats, submarines, aircraft, and other similar vintage machines from past epochs.

Istanbul Archaeology Museum, established in 1881, is one of the largest museums of its kind in the world. The museum contains more than 1,000,000 archaeological pieces from the Mediterranean basin, the Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Istanbul Mosaic Museum contains the late Roman and early Byzantine floor mosaics and wall ornaments of the Great Palace of Constantinople. The nearby Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum displays a vast collection of items from various Islamic civilizations. Sadberk Hanım Museum contains a wide variety of artifacts, dating from the earliest Anatolian civilizations to the Ottomans.

Occasionally, in November, the Silahhane (Armory Hall) of Yıldız Palace hosts the Istanbul Antiques Fair, which brings together rare pieces of antiques from the Orient and Occident. The multi-storey Mecidiyeköy Antikacılar Çarşısı (Mecidiyeköy Antiques Bazaar) in the Mecidiyeköy quarter of Şişli is the largest antiques market in the city, while the Çukurcuma neighbourhood of Beyoğlu has rows of antiques shops in its streets. The Grand Bazaar, edificed between 1455–1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror also has numerous antiques shops, along with shops selling jewels, carpets and other items of art and artisanship. Historic and rare books are found in the Sahaflar Çarşısı near Beyazıt Square, and it is one of the oldest book markets in the world, and has continuously been active in the same location since the late Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.

A significant culture has been developed around what is known as a Turkish Bath. It was a culture of leisure during the Ottoman period, the finest example being the Çemberlitaş Hamamı (1584) in Istanbul, located on the Çemberlitaş (Column of Constantine) Square.

Live shows and concerts are hosted at a number of locations including historical sites such as the Hagia Irene, Rumeli Fortress, Yedikule Castle, the courtyard of Topkapı Palace, and Gülhane Park; as well as the Atatürk Cultural Center, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall and other open air and modern theater halls.

The first Turkish newspaper, Takvim-i Vekayi, was printed on August 1, 1831 in the Bâbıâli (Bâb-ı Âli, meaning The Sublime Porte) district. Bâbıâli became the main center for print media. Istanbul is also the printing capital of Turkey with a wide variety of domestic and foreign periodicals expressing diverse views, and domestic newspapers are extremely competitive. Most nationwide newspapers are based in Istanbul, with simultaneous Ankara and İzmir editions. Major newspapers with their headquarters in Istanbul include Hürriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Zaman, Türkiye, Akşam, Bugün, Star, Dünya, Tercüman, Güneş, Vatan, Posta, Takvim, Vakit, Yeni Şafak, Fanatik and Turkish Daily News. There are also numerous local and national TV and radio stations located in Istanbul, such as CNBC-e, CNN Türk, MTV Türkiye, Fox Türkiye, Fox Sports Türkiye, NTV, Kanal D, ATV, Show TV, Star TV, Cine5, SKY Türk, TGRT Haber, Kanal 7, Kanal Türk, Flash TV and many others. In the city of Istanbul, there are over a hundred FM-radio stations.

Traditional beach resorts had gradually disappeared due to water pollution. Recently, however, old places have reopened in the city. The most popular places for swimming in the city are in Bakırköy, Küçükçekmece, Sarıyer and the Bosphorus. Outside the city are the Marmara Sea's Princes' Islands, Silivri and Tuzla; as well as Kilyos and Şile on the Black Sea.

The Princes' Islands (Prens Adaları) are a group of islands in the Marmara Sea, south of the quarters Kartal and Pendik. Pine and stone-pine wooden neoclassical and art nouveau-style Ottoman era summer mansions from the 19th and early 20th centuries, horse-drawn carriages (motor vehicles are not permitted) and seafood restaurants make them a popular destination. They can be reached by ferry boats or high-speed catamaran Seabus (Deniz otobüsü) from Eminönü and Bostancı. Of the nine islands, only five are settled.

Şile is a distant and well-known Turkish seaside resort on the Black Sea, 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Istanbul, where unspoiled white sand beaches can be found. Kilyos is a small calm seaside resort not far from the northern European entrance of the Bosphorus at the Black Sea. The place has good swimming possibilities and has become popular in the recent years among the inhabitants of Istanbul as a place for excursions. Kilyos offers a beach park with seafood restaurants and night clubs, being particularly active in the summer with many night parties and live concerts on the beach.

Istanbul has numerous historic shopping centers, such as the Grand Bazaar (1461), Mahmutpaşa Bazaar (1462) and the Egyptian Bazaar (1660). The first modern shopping mall was Galleria Ataköy (1987), which was followed by dozens of others in the later decades, such as Akmerkez (1993) which is the only mall to win both "Europe's Best" and "World's Best" awards by the ICSC; Metrocity (2003); Cevahir Mall (2005) which is the largest mall in Europe; and Kanyon Mall (2006) which won the 2006 Cityscape Architectural Review Award for its interesting design. İstinye Park (2007) and City's Nişantaşı (2008) are two new malls which target high-end consumers and are almost exclusively dedicated to world-famous fashion brands.

Along with the traditional Turkish restaurants, many European and Far Eastern restaurants and numerous other cuisines are also thriving in the city.

Most of the city's historic winehouses (meyhane in Turkish) and pubs are located in the areas around İstiklal Avenue in Beyoğlu. The 19th century Çiçek Pasajı (literally Flower Passage in Turkish, or Cité de Péra in French) on İstiklal Avenue, which has many historic meyhanes, pubs and restaurants, was built by Hristaki Zoğrafos Efendi at the former site of the Naum Theatre and was inaugurated in 1876. The famous Nevizâde Street, which has rows of historic meyhanes next to each other, is also in this area.

Other historic pubs are found in the areas around Tünel Pasajı and the nearby Asmalımescit Sokağı. Some historic neighbourhoods around İstiklal Avenue have recently been recreated, with differing levels of success such as Cezayir Sokak near Galatasaray Lisesi, which became unofficially known as La Rue Française and has rows of pubs including francophone ones, cafés and restaurants playing live music.

Istanbul is also famous for its historic seafood restaurants. Many of them were originally established by the local Greeks. The most popular seafood restaurants are generally found along the shores of the Bosphorus and by the Marmara Sea shore towards the south of the city. The Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara (Büyük Ada, Heybeli Ada, Kınalı Ada, Burgaz Ada) and Anadolu Kavağı near the northern entrance of the Bosphorus towards the Black Sea (close to Yoros Castle, which was also known as the Genoese Castle due to Genoa's possession of it in the mid-15th century) also have many historic seafood restaurants.

There are many night clubs, pubs, restaurants and taverns with live music in the city. The night clubs, restaurants and bars increase in number and move to open air spaces in the summer. The areas around Istiklal Avenue and Nişantaşı offer all sorts of cafés, restaurants, pubs and clubs as well as art galleries, theaters and cinemas.

The most popular open air summer time seaside night clubs are found on the Bosphorus, such as Reina, Sortie and Anjelique in the Ortaköy district. Babylon and Nu Pera in Beyoğlu are popular night clubs both in the summer and in the winter, while Istanbul Arena in Maslak frequently hosts the live concerts of famous singers and bands from all corners of the world. Parkorman in Maslak hosted the Isle of MTV Party in 2002 and is a popular venue for live concerts and rave parties in the summer. Q Jazz Bar in Ortaköy offers live jazz music in a stylish environment.

Istanbul holds some of the finest institutions of higher education in Turkey, including more than 20 public and private universities. Most of the reputable universities are public, but in recent years there has also been an upsurge in the number of private universities. Istanbul University (1453) is the oldest Turkish educational institution in the city, while Istanbul Technical University (1773) is the world's second-oldest technical university dedicated entirely to engineering sciences. Other prominent state universities in Istanbul are the Boğaziçi University (1863), Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts (1882), Marmara University (1883), Yıldız Technical University (1911) and Galatasaray University (1992). The major private universities in the city include Koç University (1993), Sabancı University (1994), Yeditepe University (1996), Bilgi University (1996), Işık University (1996), Fatih University (1996), Maltepe University (1997), Beykent University (1997), Kadir Has University (1997), Haliç University (1998), Bahçeşehir University (1998), Okan University (1999), and Istanbul Commerce University (2001).

Galatasaray Lisesi, established in 1481 as Galata Sarayı Enderun-u Hümayunu (Galata Palace Imperial School) and later known as Galatasaray Mekteb-i Sultanisi (Galatasaray School of the Sultans) is the oldest Turkish high school in Istanbul and the second oldest Turkish educational institution in the city after Istanbul University which was established in 1453. Galatasaray gives education primarily in Turkish and French, but there are also courses in English, Italian, Latin, Greek, Ottoman Turkish, Persian and Arabic.

İstanbul Lisesi, also commonly known as İstanbul Erkek Lisesi (established in 1884), abbreviated İEL, is one of the oldest and internationally renowned high schools of Turkey located in İstanbul. The school is considered among the elite of Turkish public high schools. Germany recognizes the school as a Deutsche Auslandsschule (German International School).

Almost all Turkish private high schools and universities in Istanbul teach in English, German or French as the primary foreign language, usually accompanied by a secondary foreign language.

Fen Liseleri (Science High Schools) were established with the aim of providing education to exceptionally gifted students in mathematics, physics, chemistry and other sciences. These are boarding schools which offer a three-year program with a curriculum that emphasises science and mathematics. The schools have a standard class size of 24 pupils and the language of instruction is Turkish.

Anadolu Liseleri (Anatolian High Schools) were originally furnished for the Turkish children who returned home from foreign countries, such as the Üsküdar Anadolu Lisesi with German as the primary foreign language and technical instruction in German. Kadıköy Anadolu Lisesi on the Asian side, however, is one of the first six special Ministry of Education Colleges (Maarif Koleji) established in 1950s in big cities across Turkey. Those English-medium colleges, too, were renamed as "Anadolu Lisesi" in subsequent decades.

Kuleli Military High School is the only military high school in Istanbul, located in Çengelköy district. The military high school have superior facilities, and classes are as little as one-third the size of those in civilian high schools. Scholastic performance is closely monitored. A summer camp is devoted to sports and military instruction. It has a four year program, and after completion, cadets from the school enter Kara Harp Okulu. A small number of cadets also enter the school from civilian high schools. Military high schools are all male schools, so all female cadets at Kara Harp Okulu come from civilian high schools. Kara Harp Okulu is the only source of commissioned officers for the Turkish Army. After graduation cadets are required to serve for 15 years.

There are many foreign high schools in Istanbul, most of which were established in the 19th century in order to give education to the foreigners residing in Istanbul, or to local Stambouliotes with European roots. Following the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, most of these schools went under the administration of the Turkish Ministry of Education, but some of them still have considerable foreign administration, such as the Liceo Italiano (Özel İtalyan Lisesi, 1861) which is still regarded as an Italian state school by the government of Italy and continues to receive funding and teachers from Rome. The oldest such school is the French Lycée Saint-Benoit, established in 1783 with its current name (the school's roots go back to 1362). Robert College, established in 1863, is the world's oldest American school outside the United States. The first international school in the city, Istanbul International Community School, was founded in 1911 to educate the children of international professors at Robert College. The name of the school was Robert College Community School until 1979, when it was changed to its current name, Istanbul International Community School (IICS). With a law passed by the Turkish Parliament in 1971, foreign universities in Turkey (i.e. Boğaziçi University which was originally the university section of Robert College) went under the jurisdiction of the Turkish state, but high schools were allowed to operate with foreign headmasters and curricula, such as the high school section of Robert College which continues to have an American headmaster. Other similar examples are the Lycée Notre Dame de Sion (1856), Deutsche Schule Istanbul (1868), Lycée Saint-Joseph (1870), Üsküdar American Academy (1876), Lycée Saint-Michel (1886), Sankt Georg Austrian High School (1892), Zappeion Greek Girls' High School, Italian Girls' Junior High School, Esayan Armenian Girls' High School, Saint Jean Baptiste French Boys' School, Saint Pulcherie Jesuit School, Zoğrafyon Greek Boys' High School and the British Girls' School. Phanar Greek Orthodox College (Fener Rum Erkek Lisesi), established in 1454, is the oldest surviving and most prestigious Greek high school in the city. Many Ottoman viziers as well as Wallachian and Moldavian princes appointed by the Ottoman state were graduated from this school.

Istanbul has numerous libraries, many of which contain vast collections of historic documents from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, as well as from other civilizations of the past. The most important libraries in terms of historic document collections include the Topkapı Palace Library, Library of the Archaeological Museum, Library of the Naval Museum, Beyazıt State Library, Nuruosmaniye Library, Süleymaniye Library, Istanbul University Library, Köprülüzade Fazıl Ahmed Paşa Library, Atatürk Library and Çelik Gülersoy Library.

During the Roman and Byzantine periods, the most important sporting events were the chariot races that were held at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which had a capacity to accommodate more than 100,000 spectators.

Today, sports like football, basketball and volleyball are very popular in the city. In addition to Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, which field teams in multiple sports, several other clubs have also excelled in particular team sports; such as Efes Pilsen, Fenerbahçe Ülker, Galatasaray Cafe Crown, Türk Telekom and Beşiktaş Cola Turka in basketball; or Eczacıbaşı, Vakıfbank, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray in volleyball.

The Atatürk Olympic Stadium, the largest multi-purpose stadium in Turkey, is a 5-star UEFA stadium and a first-class venue for track and field; having reached the highest required standards set by the International Olympic Committee and sports federations such as the IAAF, FIFA and UEFA. The stadium hosted the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final.

The Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, which is also a 5-star UEFA stadium, will host the 2009 UEFA Cup Final.

The Abdi İpekçi Arena hosted the Final of EuroBasket 2001, and was also the venue for the 1992 Euroleague Final Four.

The Sinan Erdem Dome, the largest multi-purpose indoor arena in Turkey, will host the Final of the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship, and will also be the venue for the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the 2012 FINA Short Course World Championships.

Istanbul hosts several annual motorsports events, such as the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix, the MotoGP Grand Prix of Turkey, the FIA World Touring Car Championship, the GP2 and the Le Mans Series 1,000 km (621 mi) races at the Istanbul Park GP Racing Circuit.

From time to time Istanbul also hosts the Turkish leg of the F1 Powerboat Racing on the Bosphorus. Several annual sailing and yacht races take place on the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. The Golden Horn is where the rowing races take place. Major clubs like Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, and major universities such as the Bosphorus University have rowing teams.

Air racing is new to the city. On 29 July 2006, Istanbul hosted the 5th leg of the spectacular Red Bull Air Race World Series, as well as the 4th leg on 2 June 2007, in both cases above the Golden Horn.

Personal sports like golf, horse riding and tennis are gaining popularity as the city hosts international tournaments such as the WTA Istanbul Cup. For aerobics and bodybuilding, numerous fitness clubs are available. Paintball is a sport which has recently gained popularity and is practiced by two large clubs in the proximity of Istanbul. Martial arts and other Eastern disciplines and practices such as Aikido and Yoga can be exercised in several centers across the city. Istanbul also hosts the annual MTB races in the nearby Belgrad Forest and Büyükada Island. Two of the most prominent cycling teams of Turkey, namely the Scott/Marintek MTB Team and the Kron/Sektor Bikes/Efor Bisiklet MTB Team, are from Istanbul.

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Istanbul Stock Exchange

Coat of arms of Turkey

The Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) (Turkish: İstanbul Menkul Kıymetler Borsası, İMKB) is the only corporation in Turkey for securities exchange established to provide trading in equities, bonds and bills, revenue-sharing certificates, private sector bonds, foreign securities and real estate certificates as well as international securities. The ISE was founded as an autonomous, professional organization in early 1986. It is situated in a modern building complex in Emirgan, on the European side of Istanbul since May 15, 1995. The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the ISE is Hüseyin Erkan who was appointed by the government on November 2, 2007.

ISE is home to 320 national companies. Trading hours are 09:30-12:00 for the first session and 14:00-17:00 for the second session, on workdays. All ISE members are incorporated banks and brokerage houses.

ISE price indices are computed and published throughout the trading session while the return indices are calculated and published at the close of the session only. The indices are: ISE National-All Shares Index, ISE National-30, ISE National-50, ISE National-100, Sector and sub-sector indices, ISE Second National Market Index, ISE New Economy Market Index and ISE Investment Trusts Index. The ISE National-100 Index contains both the ISE National-50 and ISE National-30 Index and is used as a main indicator of the national market.

The origin of an organized securities market in Turkey has its roots in the second half of the 19th century. The first securities market in the Ottoman Empire was established in 1866 under the name of "Dersaadet Securities Exchange" following the Crimean War. Dersaadet Exchange also created a medium for European investors who were seeking higher returns in the vast Ottoman markets. Following the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, a new law was enacted in 1929 to reorganize the fledgling capital markets under the new name of "Istanbul Securities and Foreign Exchange Bourse".

Soon, the Bourse became very active and contributed substantially to the funding requirements of new enterprises across the country. However, its success was clouded by a string of events, including the Great Depression of 1929 and the impending World War II abroad which had taken their toll in the just developing business world in Turkey. During the industrial drive of the subsequent decades, there was a continuous increase in the number and size of joint stock companies, which began to open up their equity to the public. Those mature shares faced a strong and growing demand from mostly individual investors and some institutional investors.

The early phase of the 1980s saw a marked improvement in the Turkish capital markets, both in regard to the legislative framework and the institutions required to set the stage for sound capital movements. In 1981, the "Capital Market Law" was enacted. The next year, the main regulatory body responsible for the supervision and regulation of the Turkish securities market, the Capital Markets Board based in Ankara, was established. A new decree was issued in October 1983 foreseeing the setting up of securities exchanges in the country. In October 1984, the "Regulations for the Establishment and Functions of Securities Exchanges" was published in the Official Gazette. The regulations concerning operational procedures were approved in the parliament and the Istanbul Stock Exchange was formally inaugurated at the end of 1985.

The simplicity of the Istanbul Stock Exchange emblem merits a moment of contemplation. The spherical shape has obvious worldly significance, whilst the lower horizontal line depicts Turkey’s position between the 36th and 42nd parallel. The upper curved line is representative of the bridging of the continents, Europe and Asia, with the bold white line connecting the north and south poles indicating the "I" of Istanbul. The overall background color of turquoise has always been recognized as the traditional color of the Turkish people.

There is a magnificent, four-meter high marble statue of the "Bull and Bear", in front of the ISE building’s protocol entrance. Created by one of Turkey’s foremost sculptors, Mehmet Aksoy, the statue symbolizes the behavior of the world’s stock markets, an aggressive bull poised to attack the surrendering bear. Another group of statues, sculptured by Şermin Güner, made in the honor of all existing and deceased brokers, represents brokers engaged in executing orders and is placed at the main entrance.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange makes contributions to the arts by organizing exhibitions and concerts as well as sponsoring important artistic events in Istanbul.

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Names of Istanbul

The city of Istanbul has been known through the ages under a large number of different names. Besides its modern Turkish name, the most notable are Byzantium, Constantinople and Stamboul, but there are also others. Each of them is associated with different phases of its history and with different languages. This page gives a survey of the history of these names and their use in various modern languages.

Much later, the name Byzantium became common in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire, the "Byzantine" Empire, whose capital the city had been. This usage was introduced only in 1555 by the German historian Hieronymus Wolf, a century after the empire had ceased to exist. During the time of the empire itself, the term Byzantium was restricted to the city itself, rather than the empire that it ruled.

Augusta Antonina was a name given to the city during a brief period in the 3rd century AD. It was conferred to it by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus (193-211) in honour of his son Antoninus, the later emperor Caracalla.

The term "New Rome" lent itself to East-Western polemics, especially in the context of the Great Schism, when it was used by Greek writers to stress the rivalry with (the original) Rome. New Rome is also still part of the official title of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Constantinople ("City of Constantine") was the name by which the city became soon more widely known, in honour of Constantine the Great. The Greek form is Kōnstantinoupolis (Κωνσταντινούπολις); the Latin form is Constantinopolis. It is first attested in official use under emperor Theodosius II (408-450). It remained the principal official name of the city throughout the Byzantine period, and the most common name used for it in the West until the early 20th century. It was also used (including its Kostantiniyye variant) by the Ottoman Empire until the advent of the Republic of Turkey.

Some Byzantine writers would vary the use of the names Byzantium and Constantinople depending on religious historical context; Byzantium was associated with the city's pagan roots, while Constantinople was associated with Christianity.

Besides Constantinople, the Byzantines referred to the city with a large range of honorary appellations, such as the "Queen of Cities" (Βασιλὶς τῶν πόλεων). In popular speech, however, the most common way of referring to it came to be simply The City (Greek: hē Polis, ἡ Πόλις, Modern Greek: i Poli, η Πόλη). This usage, still current today in colloquial Greek and Armenian (Պոլիս, pronounced "Bolis" in the Western Armenian dialect prevalent in the city), also became the source of the later Turkish name, Istanbul (see below).

Kostantiniyye (Arabic القسطنطينية, al-Qusṭanṭiniyah, Ottoman Turkish قسطنطينيه Kostantiniyye) is the name by which the city came to be known in the Islamic world. It is an Arabic calqued form of Constantinople, with an Arabic ending meaning 'place of' instead of the Greek element -polis. After the Ottoman conquest of 1453, it was used as the most formal official name in Ottoman Turkish, and remained in use throughout most of the time up to the fall of the empire in 1923. However, during some periods Ottoman authorities favoured other names (see below).

The modern Turkish name Istanbul (IPA: ) (Turkish: İstanbul (IPA: )) is attested (in a range of different variants) since the 10th century, at first in Armenian and Arabic and then in Turkish sources. It derives from the Greek phrase "εις την Πόλιν" or "στην Πόλη" , both meaning "in the city" or "to the city". It is thus based on the common Greek usage of referring to Constantinople simply as The City (see above). The incorporation of parts of articles and other particles into Greek placenames was common even before the Ottoman period, Navarino for earlier Avarino, Satines for Athines, etc. Similar examples of modern Turkish placenames derived from Greek in this fashion are İzmit, earlier İznikmit, from Greek Nicomedia, İznik from Greek Nicaea (), Samsun (s'Amison = "se + Amisos"), and İstanköy for the Greek island Kos (from is tin Ko). The occurrence of the initial i- in these names may partly reflect the old Greek form with is-, or it may partly be an effect of secondary epenthesis, resulting from the phonotactic structure of Turkish.

İstanbul was the common name for the city in normal speech in Turkish even since before the conquest of 1453, but in official use by the Ottoman authorities, other names such as Kostantiniyye were preferred in certain contexts. Thus, Kostantiniyye was used on coinage up to the late 17th and then again in the 19th century. The Ottoman chancelery and courts used Kostantiniyye as part of intricate formulae in expressing the place of origin of formal documents, such as be-Makam-ı Darü's-Saltanat-ı Kostantiniyyetü'l-Mahrusâtü'l-Mahmiyye In 19th century Turkish bookprinting it was also used in the impressum of books, in contrast to the foreign use of Constantinople. At the same time, however, İstanbul too was part of the official language, for instance in the titles of the highest Ottoman military commander (İstanbul ağası) and the highest civil magistrate (İstanbul efendisi) of the city. İstanbul and several other variant forms of the same name were also widely used in Ottoman literature and poetry.

After the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the various alternative names besides İstanbul became obsolete in the Turkish language. With the Turkish Postal Service Law of March 28, 1930, the Turkish authorities officially requested foreigners to cease referring to the city with their traditional non-Turkish names (such as Constantinople, Tsarigrad, etc.) and to adopt Istanbul as the sole name also in their own languages. Letters or packages sent to "Constantinople" instead of "Istanbul" were no longer delivered by Turkey's PTT, which contributed to the eventual worldwide adoption of the new name (except in Greek speaking countries).

Stamboul was used in Western languages as an equivalent of İstanbul, until the time it was replaced by the official new usage of the Turkish form in the 20th century. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, English-speaking sources often used Constantinople to refer to the metropolis as a whole, but Stamboul to refer to the central parts located on the historic peninsula between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara.

Islambol (lots of Islam) or Islambul (find Islam) were folk-etymological adaptations of Istanbul created after the Ottoman conquest of 1453 to express the city's new role as the capital of the Islamic Ottoman empire. It is first attested shortly after the conquest, and its invention was ascribed by some contemporary writers to Sultan Mehmed II himself. Some Ottoman sources of the 17th century, most notably Evliya Çelebi, describe it as the common Turkish name of the time. Between the late 17th and late 18th centuries, it was also in official use. The first use of the word "Islambol" on coinage took place in 1703 (1115AH) during the reign of Sultan Ahmed III. The term Kostantiniyye still appeared, however, into the twentieth century.

Like the Byzantines, the Ottomans used to refer to the city by a range of other honorary appellations. Among them are Dersaadet (در سعادت 'Gate of Felicity'), Derâliye (در عاليه) or Bâb-ı Âlî باب عالی 'The Sublime Porte', or Pâyitaht (پایتخت, 'The Seat of the Throne'), Asitane ('The Doorstep' of the Sultan/Government). The 'Gate of Felicity' and the 'Sublime Porte' were literally places within the Ottoman Sultans' Topkapı Palace, and were used metonymically to refer to the authorities located there, and hence for the Ottoman government as a whole. This usage is mirrored in the use of Sublime Porte or simple The Porte in Western diplomacy before the 20th century.

Many peoples neighboring on the Byzantine Empire used names expressing concepts like "The Great City", "City of the Emperors", "Capital of the Romans" or similar. During the 10th to 12th century Constantinople was one of the largest two cities in the world, the other being Baghdad.

The medieval Vikings, who had contacts with the Byzantine empire through their expansion through eastern Europe (Varangians) used the Old Norse name Miklagarðr (from mikill 'big' and garðr 'city'), later Miklagård. This name lives on in the modern Icelandic name Mikligarður and Faroese Miklagarður.

East and South Slavic languages referred to the city as Tsarigrad or Carigrad, 'City of the Caesar (Emperor)', from the Slavonic words tsar ('Caesar') and grad ('city'). Cyrillic:Цариград. This was presumably a calque on a Greek phrase such as Βασιλέως Πόλις (Basileos Polis), 'the city of the emperor '. The term is still occasionally used in Bulgarian, whereas it has become archaic in Serbian, Russian, Croatian, and Macedonian. In Slovenian it is regularly used in form Carigrad to denote specially the historical city from its foundation to the end of Eastern Roman Empire, but it is a living alternative name also for the modern city. In Czech language (West Slavic) this Slavic name is used in the form Cařihrad (used in 19th century, now only occasionally). It was also borrowed from the Slavic languages into Romanian in the form Ţarigrad.

Besides Kustantiniyyah, Persian, Urdu, Arabic and other languages of the Islamic world used names based on the title Cesar ('Emperor'), as in Persian and Urdu Kayser-i Zemin, or on the ethnic name Rum ('Romans'), as in Arabic Rūmiyyat al-kubra ('Great City of the Romans') or Persian/Urdu Taxt-e Rum ('Throne of the Romans').

In Hebrew, the city was sometimes referred to as "Kushtandina" קושטנדינה, and sometimes "Kushtandina Rabati" קושטנדינה רבתי, literally, Great Kushtandina, or shortened to "Kushta" קושטא, an alteration of Kostantiniyye. This usage was common among Jews until the early 20th Century; however, in present-day Israel it has virutally disappeared, replaced by the Hebrew trasliteration of the Turkish "Istanbul" (איסטנבול).

Most modern Western languages have adopted the name Istanbul for the modern city during the 20th century, following the current usage in the Turkish Republic. However, many languages also preserve other, traditional names. Greeks continue to call the city Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολη Konstantinupoli in Modern Greek) or simply "The City" (η Πόλη i Poli). Languages that use forms based on Stamboul include Russian, Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Albanian. The Spanish form is Estambul. Armenian uses Bolis, based on the Greek Poli(s) 'City'. Icelandic preserves the old Norse name Miklagarður.

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Source : Wikipedia