Haiga Sophia

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Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, forming the country's economic, cultural, and historical heart. With a population of 13.5 million, the city is at the center of the second-largest metropolitan area in Europe and among the world's largest cities by population within city limits. Istanbul's vast area of 5,343 square kilometers (2,063 sq mi) is coterminous with Istanbul Province, of which the city is the administrative capital.[note 3] Straddling the Bosphorus—one of the world's busiest waterways—in northwestern Turkey, between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, Istanbul is a transcontinental city, with one third of its population living in Asia and its commercial and historical center in Europe.
Founded on the Sarayburnu around 660 BC as Byzantium, the city now known as Istanbul developed to become one of the most significant cities in history. For nearly sixteen centuries following its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 AD, it served as the capital of four empires—the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold from which the last caliphate ruled. Although the Republic of Turkey established its capital elsewhere, in Ankara, remnants of Istanbul's previous central role still remain highly visible across the city, with palaces and imperial mosques lining its hills.
Istanbul's strategic position along the historic Silk Road, rail networks to Europe and the Middle East, and the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have helped foster an eclectic populace, although less so since the establishment of the Republic. Overlooked for the new capital during the interwar period, the city has since regained much of its prominence. The population of the city has increased tenfold since the 1950s, as migrants from across Anatolia have flocked to the metropolis and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. Arts festivals were established at the end of the 20th century, while infrastructure improvements have produced a complex transportation network.
Seven million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2010, when it was named a European Capital of Culture, making it the world's tenth-most popular tourist destination. The city's biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but its cultural and entertainment hub can be found across the city's natural harbor, the Golden Horn, in the Beyoğlu district. Considered a global city, Istanbul hosts the headquarters of many Turkish companies and media outlets and accounts for more than a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. Hoping to capitalize on its revitalization and rapid expansion, Istanbul is currently bidding for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The first known name of the city is Byzantium (Greek: Βυζάντιον, Byzántion), originating from the name of the king, Byzas, whose colony founded it around 660 BC.[note 1] After Constantine the Great made it the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD, the city became widely known as Constantinopolis (English: Constantinople), which, as the Latinized form of "Κωνσταντινούπολις" (Kōnstantinoúpolis), means the "City of Constantine". He also attempted to promote the name Nea Roma ("New Rome"), but this never caught on. Constantinople remained the most common name for the city in the West until the establishment of the Turkish Republic, and Kostantiniyye (Ottoman Turkish قسطنطينيه) was the primary name used by the Ottomans during their rule. Nevertheless, the use of Constantinople to refer to the city during the Ottoman period (from the mid-15th century) is now considered politically incorrect, even if not historically inaccurate, by Turks.
By the 19th century, the city had acquired a number of other names used by either foreigners or Turks. Europeans used Constantinople to refer to the whole of the city, but used the name Stamboul—as the Turks also did—to describe the walled peninsula between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara. Pera (from the Greek word for "across") was used to describe the area between the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, but Turks also used the name Beyoğlu, which is still in use today. Islambol (meaning either "City of Islam" or "Full of Islam") was sometimes jovially used to refer to city, and was even engraved on some Ottoman coins, but the belief that it was the precursor to the present name, İstanbul, is belied by the fact that the latter existed well before the former and even prior to the Ottoman and Muslim conquest of the city.
Etymologically, the name İstanbul (Turkish pronunciation: [isˈtanbuɫ], colloquially [ɯsˈtambuɫ]) derives from the Medieval Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" [is tin ˈpolin]/[istimbolin], which means "in the city" or "to the city". This reflected its status as the only major city in the vicinity, much in the same way people today often colloquially refer to their nearby urban centers as "the City". The name may have also evolved directly from the name Constantinople, with the first two syllables simply dropped. In modern Turkish, the name is written as İstanbul, with a dotted İ, as the Turkish alphabet distinguishes between a dotted and dotless I. Also, while in English the stress is on the first syllable (Is), in Turkish it is on the second syllable (tan). İstanbul was officially adopted as the sole name of the city in 1930. A person from the city is an İstanbullu (plural: İstanbullular), although Istanbulite is used in English.
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