Istanbul is an old city; you can see the remains of many ancient civilizations and their culture in harmony with Turkish culture. The old versus the new, the traditional versus the modern is a conflict a visitor often observes. The city is full of contrasts, and colourful views, where the blowing winds from the seven peaks of Anatolian Olympus merge into each other… Where Amazon’s cooled their bodies in the waves that break apart from the Black Sea and roll mightily against the shore … Where love is symbolised in the Maiden’s Tower … Where stand the rocks of Symplegad that brought nightmares to the Argonauts …
Istanbul is a city of unparalleled social and cultural richness. It is as fascinating and historical as it is dynamic and modern. Serving as the capital of two mighty empires incessantly for sixteen centuries, Eastern Roman or Byzantine and Ottoman, and set squarely between two continents, Istanbul has cultures and traditions that blend East with West and Mediterranean with Anatolian. Each civilization that has made Istanbul its home has left its mark in sublime and splendid ways, and the result a city that gives one the feeling of universal history at every step.
With a definitely multicultural touch and a vibrant atmosphere rooted deep in the past experience of humanity while facing toward the future, Istanbul is truly as much a crossroads of ideas and cultures today as ever. For how many cities in the world is home to ages old churches, mosques, and synagogues in such a close proximity, showing us the possibility of a community formed of different cultures living in a state of peace and tolerance that stems from a shared human past and belief in the future?
History of Istanbul
Expanding the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium by the order of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, the imperial city of Constantinople for nearly a thousand years was the last remaining outpost of the Roman Empire. It was finally conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1453, an event sometimes used to mark the end of the Middle Ages. By the mid 1500s, Istanbul, with a population of almost half a million, was a major cultural, political, and commercial center. Ottoman rule continued until it was defeated in WWI and Istanbul was occupied by the allied forces. When the Republic of Turkey was born in 1923 after the War of Independence, Kemal Ataturk moved its capital to the city of Ankara. However, Istanbul has continued to expand dramatically; today its population is approximately 17 million. It continues to be a city that creates its own history at the intersection where both continents meet.
Names of Istanbul
Did you Know? The city of Istanbul has changed a number of names: Augusta Antonina, Nova Roma, Byzantion, Byzantium, Constantinople and finally Istanbul.
The first name of Byzantium was Lygos. Byzantion, latinized as Byzantium, was the name after 667 BC. Constantinople was the name by which the city became soon more widely known, in honor of Constantine the Great. Kostantiniyye is the name by which the city came to be known in the Islamic world. Istanbul, is the modern Turkish name.
Istanbul With Numbers
- Istanbul is the world’s first most popular congress city in 2011
- Istanbul is one of the world’s top 10 congress destinations
- Istanbul has 78 public and private museums
- You can feel 4 seasons in Istanbul
- Istanbul has 8500 years of history
- 12 million tulips planted in April
- Istanbul has 39 districts administered by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
- 5 imperial palaces, dozens of summer palaces and mansions
- Istanbul has 4 historic bazaars
- Istanbul is the captial to 3 big empires
- Istanbul was home to 13 million international visitors in 2015
- Istanbul was the European Capital of Culture in 2010
- Istanbul has 3 bridges between two continents
- Istanbul is the largest populated city of Turkey with over 16 million habitants
- Almost 120 modern shopping malls
- Istanbul has 240 public and private hospitals
- Istanbul has 53 universities and 5 technoparks
- Istanbul has 2 international airports, 1 under construction
- Istanbul is 5th most visited city in the world
Weather and Climate in Istanbul
Istanbul is under the effect of Mediterranean, Black Sea, the Balkans and Anatolian continental climate. Istanbul is a city where four seasons can be experienced.
The hottest months are July and August while the coldest months are January and February. Istanbul can surprise you in every way, especially with its weather. Be sure that you have a portable umbrella in your bag.
- January and February 5-9 °C
- March and April 9-18 °C
- May 14-24 °C, June 18-27 °C
- July and August 20-33 °C
- October 16-23 °C
- November and December 6-13 °C
Seasons in Istanbul
Summer: In summer, the weather in Istanbul is hot and humid, with the temperature in July and August averaging 27°C.
Summers are relatively dry, but rainfall is significant during that season. Extreme heat, however, is uncommon, as temperatures rise above 32°C on only five days per year on average.
Winter: During winter it is cold, wet and often snowy, with the temperature in January and February averaging 4°C. Snowfalls tend to be heavy, but the snow cover and temperatures below the freezing point rarely last more than a few days.
Generally there is rain and snow together while the snow would not last more than 10 days.
Spring and Autumn: Spring and autumn are mild, but are unpredictable and often wet, and can range from chilly to warm, however the nights are chilly. Tulips and judas trees are everywhere in Istanbul, which transforms the metropolis into a refreshing and adorable place.