Overview of Istanbul

Geography of Istanbul

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Istanbul is Turkey's cultural and financial centre. It is also Europe's most populous city. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the Golden Horn, a natural harbour which has proved invaluable for trade. Istanbul is the only city in the world that is situated on two continents – Europe and Asia. The European side is the more affluent part of Istanbul while a short ferry ride away will bring you to the Asian side which is a poorer section of the city.

Istanbul is an awesome city and one where the old and new don’t shy away from each other. It's no surprise then that it was chosen as the joint European Capital of Culture for 2010. Many of its historic sites are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Turkey, officially known as the Republic of Turkey is a Eurasian country that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia and Thrace in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Turkey is a transcontinental country with parts of it strategically located in Europe and Asia. It is surrounded by Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Cyprus, the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea. Needless to say, Turkey enjoys a rich cultural heritage and due to its location across two continents, its culture also has a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences.

Turkey is a democratic republic whose political system was established in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. In fact, Turkey has Ataturk to thank for its liberal and modern attitude to Islam. Turkey has membership in a number of Western organizations like the Council of Europe, NATO, OEC, OSCE and the G20 industrialised nations. It is also in the process of applying for full membership status with the EU.

Update 29/06/2008

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