The city is located in Turkey and one of the country’s 81 provinces. It is the most populous, economic, historical, and socio-culturally leading city in the country. The city ranks 34th in the world in terms of economic size, first in Europe and sixth in the world according to the ranking based on municipal boundaries in terms of population.
Istanbul is one of the favorite tourism centers due to its abundance of history, monuments and artifacts, and the Bosphorus. The biggest share among tourists belongs to the Germans. Russians, Americans, Italians and French follow the Germans. 8 million 58 thousand tourists came to the city in 2011. It is possible to find hotels suitable for every budget in Istanbul. There are more than 1180 hotels ranging from 5-star chain hotels to boutique family-run hotels. In recent years, worldwide known chain hotels show great interest in Istanbul.
It is possible to come across historical artifacts from various periods of history in almost every region of Istanbul, which has been home to different human communities for thousands of years. Among the thousands of historical artifacts recorded in the inventories, there are city walls, palaces, pavilions, mosques, churches, synagogues, fountains, and mansions.
According to the statistics of 2009, Istanbul is the city hosting the highest number of tourists after Antalya. In 2009, the number of tourists entering by air, land, and sea was just over 7.5 million. Among these, Germans ranked first with a share of 13.1% and Russians ranked second with a share of 6.7. The first tourist group hosted by Istanbul came to visit Sergi-i Umumi-i Osmani in 1863. Later, with the connection of Istanbul to Europe by rail, the number of tourists increased and the first hotel of Istanbul, Pera Palace, was established to meet the increasing demand for accommodation.
According to 2009 data, there are 371 accommodation and 405 entertainment facilities in Istanbul. There are many museums in Istanbul and there are also private museums among them. Only state museums were visited by 6,179,556 people in 2009. Among the places visited, Topkapı Palace led the way with 2,932,429 people, followed by the Hagia Sophia Museum with 2,444,956 people. Fatih District (Historical peninsula), which is the historical center of Istanbul, and settlements around the Golden Horn, Beyoğlu, and Eyüpsultan; Beşiktaş and Sarıyer on the Bosphorus; Kadıköy, Üsküdar, and Adalar districts on the Anatolian Side are among the centers of Istanbul rich in historical tourism. For nature tourism, there are interesting addresses in Beykoz, Şile, Adalar, and Sarıyer.
Byzantine Empire period
This period covered the years 324-1453. After Constantine I seized the city and made it the capital of the Roman Empire, the city also became the administrative center of the east of Rome. The Roman population increased significantly during this period, including the migration of Roman nobility. In this period; The city has expanded considerably with a new architectural structure. In addition to a 100,000-person hippodrome (Sultanahmet Square), ports and water facilities were built.
Although the city was called Nova Roma during the time of Constantinus; On May 11, 330, the city’s name was changed to Constantinople. Constantine also changed the religion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. The first break with the west, which believed in the pagan Roman religion, started in this period. Although; Although the Byzantine Empire started with the death of Theodosius I; Byzantine Empire Constantinus always saw himself as a Byzantine Emperor out of respect for his introduction of Christianity; Until his collapse in 1453, 10 more Emperors were named Constantine. During this period, Istanbul’s role was very strategic; It became a gateway between Europe and Asia. On this occasion, it was a center of trade, culture, and diplomacy. During this period, the name of the city became “Poli” (city).
After the collapse of Western Rome in 476; Most of the Romans in the Western Roman Empire immigrated here and the capital of the Byzantine Empire became Istanbul. After the plague epidemic that killed half of the population in 543; The city was rebuilt during the reign of Emperor Justinian I.
The city was attacked by the Sassanids and Avars in the 700’s; It was attacked by Bulgarians and Arabs in the 800’s and by Russians and Bulgarians in the 900’s.
But; The most devastating of the attacks occurred in 1204. By the Crusaders; The city, captured in 1204 in the Fourth Crusade, was plundered; the majority of the people fled the city; turned into a poor and ruined city. The reason for this is that the Latins who grew up in Western Rome; They are the differences and incompatibilities between the Catholic Christian understanding and the Orthodox Christian belief in Byzantium. After this period, in 1261 from the Paleologos Dynasty; VIII. Michael recaptured the city and ended the times of the Latins.
Byzantine, which gradually became smaller after this period; was besieged by the Ottoman Empire after 1391; Finally, it became a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire on May 29, 1453. The conquest of Istanbul symbolizes the end of the Middle Ages in world history.
Ottoman Empire period
This period covered the years 1453-1923. On May 29, 1453; Ottoman Sultan II. After the 53-day siege of Mehmed; Istanbul became the 4th and last capital of the Ottoman Empire.
After the Ottoman conquest; After the establishment of Topkapı Palace and the Grand Bazaar, many schools and baths were opened. A cosmopolitan society where Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together was formed in the city, where people from all over the world and the Empire moved. Old buildings and ramparts from the Byzantine period were repaired.50 years after the conquest; Also known as the “Little Apocalypse” in Istanbul, which has become one of the largest cities in the world; After the 14 September 1509 Istanbul Earthquake (allegedly of 8 magnitudes); Thousands of buildings were destroyed by 45 days of aftershocks and many people died.
In 1510; Sultan II. Bayezid; He rebuilt the city with the work of 80,000 people. Most of the works that still exist today are from this period. During the period of Suleiman the Magnificent, when Mimar Sinan built mosques and other buildings; Emphasis was placed on architecture and art. During the Tulip Period; Grand Vizier Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha since 1718; He established the fire department, opened the first printing house, and established factories. In the period when the westernization process accelerated after the Tanzimat Edict announced on 3 November 1839, many innovations were experienced in many areas.
Bridge over the Golden Horn; Istanbul, which became a modern city with the tunnel, railways, sea transportation in the city, the establishment of municipal organizations and hospitals in Karaköy, was again damaged by the Üçyüzon Earthquake in 1894. At the end of World War I, on 13 November 1918, it was also occupied by the Allied Navy. Istanbul’s 2500-year capital period ended on 29 October 1923.
Physical breakthroughs occurred between 1923-1950 after the Republic. The population, which was 1 million in the early 1900s, fell to 690,000 in 1927, reaching 740,000 in 1935 and 900,000 in 1945. In the city, which received immigration from the Balkans in the 1950s, slums come to the fore in urbanization during this period. In the 1960s, the apartment building started next to the slums. In the 1970s, with the rapid population growth, housing and transportation problems gained importance. During this period, the increase in the number of automobiles and the increase in traffic, as a result, was effective in the construction of the Bosphorus Bridge and an important point was reached in transportation. While the metropolitan area of Istanbul had a radius of 50 kilometers at the center between 1970 and 1975, it reached a radius of 60 kilometers in 1980. The population growth of the 1990s resulted in the spread of the population to the outside, and as a result, IETT was filled with inadequate and minibusses tried to close this gap. The Bosphorus Bridge was opened in 1973 in the city, where construction activities were revived even though it was not at the old speed in the 70s.
Istanbul gained the title of the metropolitan city along with Ankara and Izmir as a result of the law numbered 2972 enacted in 1984 and the decree-law numbered 195. The statuses of metropolitan and district municipalities became clear with the law numbered 3030 enacted in the same year. With the law numbered 5216 enacted in 2004, the borders of the metropolitan municipality became provincial civil borders.