Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and its financial and cultural centre. The city is located on the Bosphorus strait and encompasses the natural harbour known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of Turkey. The area of Istanbul has been settled since prehistoric times. Greek settlers from Megara founded the first city, Bizantion, in the 7th century BC. After the city was annexed to the Roman empire and later became Costantinople, initially the capital of the East Roman empire, later known as the Byzantine empire. In 1453 Constantinople was conquered by the Turks under Sultan Mehmed II, who renamed the city as Istanbul and made it the capital of the Ottoman empire. Following the declaration of the republic of Turkey in 1923, the capital was transferred to Ankara. Nowadays Istanbul has over 11 million inhabitants and generates generates 55% of Turkey's trade. From a tourist perspective, Istanbul offers many interesting sights, ranging from the Hagia Sophia museum, several mosques, the Topkapi palace and other interesting architecture. The historic areas of Istanbul have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985.
01 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque 02 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque 03 Hagia Sophia and Blue mosque domes 04 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque dome and minaret
05 Lawn and Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque 06 Pink building near Hagia Sofia 07 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque 08 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque
09 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque 10 Inner court of Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque 11 Inner court of Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque 12 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque domes
13 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque minaret 14 Gazebo in park 15 Gazebo in park 16 Sultan Ahmed Blue mosque minarets 17 Christian church
18 Panoramic view of Golden Horn with Hagia Sophia, the Blue mosque and Topkapi palace 19 Topkapi palace
20 Panoramic view of Golden Horn with Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque and Topkapi palace 21 Panoramic view of Golden Horn with Hagia Sophia and Blue mosque
22 Yeni mosque at sunset 23 Yeni mosque at sunset 24 Yeni mosque at dusk 01 Hagia Sophia
02 Hagia Sophia 03 Hagia Sophia 04 Minarets 05 Interior view 06 Interior view
07 Interior view of apse 08 Loge of the Sultan 09 Mihrab in apse 10 Interior view 11 Upper gallery
12 Interior view 13 Jesus image in Deesis mosaic 14 Jesus image in Deesis mosaic 15 John Baptist image in Deesis mosaic
16 Deesis mosaic with Virgin Mary, Jesus and John Baptist 17 Comnenus mosaic 18 Empress Zoe mosaic 19 Interior view with mosaics and Islamic symbols
20 Interior view with mosaics and Islamic symbols 01 Taksim square 02 Monument on Taksim square 03 Red tram on Taksim square
04 Doner Kebab restaurant in Istiklal avenue 05 Doner Kebab restaurant in Istiklal avenue 06 Doner Kebab restaurant in Istiklal avenue 07 Doner Kebab restaurant in Istiklal avenue 08 Doner Kebab restaurant in Istiklal avenue 09 Doner Kebab restaurant in Istiklal avenue
10 Galata tower 11 Galata tower 12 St Anthony of Padua cathedral 13 Istiklal avenue 14 Panoramic view of Beyoglu
15 Panoramic view of Beyoglu 16 Panoramic view of Beyoglu 01 Bosphorus strait 02 Bosphorus strait with cruise ship and Golden Horn
03 Golden Horn at sunset 04 Galata bridge 05 Party on building roof 06 Ferry boat
07 Men fishing on Galata bridge 08 Restaurants below Galata bridge 09 Restaurants below Galata bridge 10 Duty free shop neon lights in Istanbul airport
11 Planes in Istanbul airport 12 Duty free shop in Istanbul airport 13 Hall in Istanbul airport
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