Istanbul is quickly climbing the ladder of the most popular holiday destinations, take a step closer in understanding the history and rich culture of Istanbul.


Istanbul was earlier known to be the capital of Turkey. Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire, on  29th October 1923, Istanbul was replaced by Ankara as the new Turkish capital. Founded in 667 BC, over centuries Istanbul has been subjected to a wide range of name changes. According to the Roman author Pliny the Elder, the city was first named Lygos. In AD 196 it became part of the Roman Empire and was named Byzantium after Byzas, the king of Megara. Emperor Constantine declared it his eastern capital and it became Constantinople, that stuck around for more than a thousand years.

Turkey is home to approximately  80,000 mosques, out of which Istanbul, the previous capital has around 3,000 mosques.  Recently after a six-year construction, the opening of Camlica Mosque in Istanbul was announced. The Camlica Mosque is the largest mosque of Turkey. It has been designed to accommodate over 63,000 worshippers and can also be viewed easily from every corner of the city. Istanbul is Turkey’s most populous and largest city with over 15 million people that constitute around 18.4 per cent of the total population of the country. Due to a large influx of immigrants, the population size grows at 3.45% rate that’s faster than the national average. Istanbul is also the centre of Turkey’s economy.


The largest city of the European continent, Istanbul is one of the few cities that rest between two continents. Istanbul is part of both Europe and Asia. A 31-km-long waterway, the Bosphorus strait connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and acts as a natural barrier between both the continents. In AD 537, the Hagia Sophia was built like a Greek orthodox cathedral but was changed into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire period. In 1935, Hagia Sophia was then converted into a museum by the first President of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. According to data, Hagia Sophia is ranked third with 1.9 million visitors.

Since 1461, the Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest markets in the world. It hosts over 3,000 shops on around 60 streets that attract around 3,00,000 visitors daily. It is acknowledged to be the first shopping malls in the world. The British author Agatha Christie wrote the famous murder mystery novel “Murder on the Orient Express”  in the Pera Palas Hotel, Istanbul. The Orient Express train used to travel between Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul) from 1883 to 1977.

A 19th-century French poet and traveller, Alphonse de Lamartine once said, “If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul”. Istanbul’s Tunnel is the world’s shortest and third-oldest subway in the world, after the underground  London and Budapest subway.