With a current population estimated at around 14 million, Istanbul is not only Turkey’s financial and cultural center but also the largest city in Europe. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the scenically spectacular waterway between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, Istanbul brings Europe and Asia together in many ways. A booming, thriving global metropolis, Istanbul was picked as one of three European Capitals of Culture in 2010.
This sprawling conurbation is divided in three by the north-south Bosphorus, the traditional borderline between Europe and Asia, and by the Golden Horn (Haliç), the estuary of a small creek that flows into the Marmara Sea to bisect the land mass to the north and west of the straits. Most sights are concentrated in the old city on the “historic peninsula” at the southwest end of the Bosphorus between the Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea. Across the Golden Horn to the north are Galata, Beyoğlu and Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul, while Kadıköy is the major district on the comparatively less-visited Anatolian side. The Marmara sea forms the southern and the Black Sea the northern boundary of Istanbul.
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