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Aerial view of the Ortakoy Mosque and bridge at dusk in Istanbul, Turkey

City at a Glance

Istanbul, Turkey
Location Northwest Turkey
City type Megalopolis
Population 16 million
Official language(s) Turkish
Climate Mediterranean, marine
Average temperatures January 43°; July 77°
Landscape Mountainous, seaport
Factoid Istanbul is built on seven hills to mirror the seven hills of Rome.

About Istanbul

This ancient walled city is the largest in Turkey and the country’s primary seaport. Dripping with exciting history that opens doors all the way back to the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul has long been one of the most desirable destinations in its region. Deemed a rising power in the world, the city is an industrial hub for everything from olive oil to paper and pharmaceuticals. Alongside modern skyscrapers are 1,000-year-old structures like Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern. In this compelling and diverse city that stands on two continents (Europe and Asia), you’ll hear accents from all over the globe. Locals are generally curious about visitors, and not shy to ask questions. With near endless options to explore art, culture, entertainment, and amazing food, your days and nights will be packed—and don’t forget about the world-famous Turkish baths! 

Where is Istanbul

41.012028883991, 28.977326995687

What to do in Istanbul

Topkapı Palace and Harem: Once the residence of Ottoman sultans, this site boasts an abundance of cultural treasures and spectacular architecture that will inspire you to take pics all day. 

Grand Bazaar: One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, this space spans 61 streets and boasts over 4,000 shops.  

Turkish Baths: Known locally as hammams, these relaxing havens offer saunas, steam rooms, scrubbing rooms, salt rooms, and pools.

Tünel: All aboard the past! This is the oldest existing underground train in continental Europe, and the second-oldest in the world.

Belgrad Forest: Take a walk or a jog through this wooded wonderland. While there, check out the Atatürk Arboretum, a heavenly green space with a collection of ponds.