Wednesday January 1, 2020

GRAND ADVENTURE By ANNA MARIE MATEESCU ISTANBUL, TURKEY. Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey and is the country’s economic, cultural, and historic center. Straddling the Bosporus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea in Eurasia, its commercial and historical center lies on the European side with about a third of its population living in suburbs on the Asian side. With a total population of around 15 million in its metropolitan area, Istanbul is one of the world’s most populous cities, ranking as the world’s fourth largest city proper and the largest European city. Christianity reigned during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate. Under the name Constantinople it was the Ottoman capital until 1923. Being in the strategic position between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, it was on the historic Silk Road which controlled rail networks between the Balkans and the Middle East, and was the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. In 1923, after the Turkish War of Independence, Ankara was chosen as the new Turkish capital, and the city’s name was changed to Istanbul. Nevertheless, the city maintained its prominence in geopolitical and cultural affairs. The population of the city has increased tenfold since the 1950s, as migrants from across Anatolia have moved in and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. In 2015 it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world’s fifth most popular tourist destination. The city’s biggest attraction is its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Winter is colder in Istanbul than in...... Read more on Full Issue!

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