Metropolitan municipality
See caption
Clockwise from top: View of the Golden Horn between Karaköy and Sarayburnu within the historic areas; Maiden's Tower; a nostalgic tram on İstiklal Avenue; Levent business district with Dolmabahçe Palace; Ortaköy Mosque in front of the Bosphorus Bridge; and Hagia Sophia.
Turkey, with Istanbul pinpointed at the northwest along a thin strip of land bounded by water
Turkey, with Istanbul pinpointed at the northwest along a thin strip of land bounded by water
Location in Turkey
Coordinates: 41°00′49″N 28°57′18″E / 41°00′49″N 28°57′18″E / 41.01361; 28.95500
Country Turkey
Region Marmara
Province Istanbul
Districts 39
 • Mayor Mevlut Uysal ( AKP)
Area [1] [2] [a]
 • Urban 1,539 km2 (594 sq mi)
 • Metro 5,343 km2 (2,063 sq mi)
Elevation 39 m (128 ft)
Population (31 December 2016) [3] [4] [5]
 •  Metropolitan municipality 14,804,116
 • Rank 1st
 •  Urban 14,100,000
 •  Metro 14,657,434
 • Metro density 2,691/km2 (6,970/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Istanbulite (modern)
( Turkish: İstanbullu)
Time zone FET ( UTC+3)
Postal code 34000 to 34990
Area code(s) 0212 (European side)
0216 (Asian side)
Vehicle registration 34
Nominal GDP 2012
 - Total $301 billion [6]
 - Per capita $22,765 [6]
GeoTLD .ist, .istanbul

Istanbul ( UK: l/, l/ or US: n-/ or US: l/; [7] [8] [9] Turkish: İstanbul [isˈtɑnbuɫ] ( About this sound  listen)), historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country's economic, cultural, and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. [10] The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality ( coterminous with Istanbul Province), both hosting a population of around 14.7 million residents. [3] Istanbul is one of the world's most populous cities and ranks as the world's 7th- largest city proper and the largest European city.

Founded under the name of Byzantion (Βυζάντιον) on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BCE, the city developed to become one of the most significant in history. After its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 CE, it served as an imperial capital for almost 16 centuries, during the Roman and Byzantine (330–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin (1204–1261), and the Ottoman (1453–1922) empires. [11] 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 and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate. [12]

Istanbul's strategic position on the historic Silk Road, [13] rail networks to Europe and the Middle East, and the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have produced a cosmopolitan populace, although less so since the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Overlooked for the new capital Ankara 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 moved in and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. [14] [15] Arts, music, film, and cultural festivals were established at the end of the 20th century and continue to be hosted by the city today. Infrastructure improvements have produced a complex transportation network.

Approximately 12.56 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2015, five years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world's fifth most popular tourist destination. [16] The city's biggest attraction is its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and 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, [17] Istanbul has one of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies in the world. [18] It hosts the headquarters of many Turkish companies and media outlets and accounts for more than a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. [19] Hoping to capitalize on its revitalization and rapid expansion, Istanbul has bid for the Summer Olympics five times in twenty years. [20]


The first known name of the city is Byzantium ( Greek: Βυζάντιον, Byzántion), the name given to it at its foundation by Megarean colonists around 660 BCE. [21] The name is thought to be derived from a personal name, Byzas. Ancient Greek tradition refers to a legendary king of that name as the leader of the Greek colonists. Modern scholars have also hypothesized that the name of Byzas was of local Thracian or Illyrian origin and hence predated the Megarean settlement. [22]

After Constantine the Great made it the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire in 330 CE, the city became widely known as "Constantinopolis" ( Constantinople), which, as the Latinized form of "Κωνσταντινούπολις" (Konstantinoúpolis), means the "City of Constantine". [21] He also attempted to promote the name "Nova Roma" and its Greek version "Νέα Ῥώμη" Nea Romē ( New Rome), but this did not enter widespread usage. [23] Constantinople remained the most common name for the city in the West until the establishment of the Turkish Republic, and Kostantiniyye ( Ottoman Turkish: قسطنطينيه‎) and Be Makam-e Qonstantiniyyah al-Mahmiyyah (meaning "the Protected Location of Constantinople") and İstanbul were the names used alternatively by the Ottomans during their rule. [24] 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. [25]

By the 19th century, the city had acquired 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. [25] 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 (today the official name for one of the city's constituent districts). [26] Islambol (meaning either "City of Islam" or "Full of Islam") was sometimes colloquially used to refer to the city, and was even engraved on some Ottoman coins, [27] 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 predates the Ottoman conquest of the city. [21]

The name İstanbul (Turkish pronunciation:  [isˈtanbuɫ] ( About this sound  listen), colloquially [ɯsˈtambuɫ]) is commonly held to derive from the Medieval Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" (pronounced [is tim ˈbolin]), which means "to the city" [28] and is how Constantinople was referred to by the local Greeks. This reflected its status as the only major city in the vicinity. The importance of Constantinople in the Ottoman world was also reflected by its Ottoman name 'Der Saadet' meaning the 'gate to Prosperity' in Ottoman. An alternative view is that the name evolved directly from the name Constantinople, with the first and third syllables dropped. [21] A Turkish folk etymology traces the name to Islam bol "plenty of Islam" [29] because the city was called Islambol ("plenty of Islam") or Islambul ("find Islam") as the capital of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. It is first attested shortly after the conquest, and its invention was ascribed by some contemporary writers to Sultan Mehmed II himself. [30] Some Ottoman sources of the 17th century, such as Evliya Çelebi, describe it as the common Turkish name of the time; between the late 17th and late 18th centuries, it was also in official use. The first use of the word "Islambol" on coinage was in 1703 (1115 AH) during the reign of Sultan Ahmed III. Nevertheless, the use of the name Constantinople remained common in English into the 20th century, Istanbul became common only after Turkey adopted the Latin alphabet in 1928 and urged other countries to use the city's Turkish name. [31] [32]

In modern Turkish, the name is written as İstanbul, with a dotted İ, as the Turkish alphabet distinguishes between a dotted and dotless I. In English the stress is on the first or last syllable, but in Turkish it is on the second syllable (tan). [33] A person from the city is an İstanbullu (plural: İstanbullular), although Istanbulite is used in English. [34]

Other Languages
Acèh: Éseutamu
Адыгэбзэ: Истамбыл
адыгабзэ: Истамбыл
Afrikaans: Istanboel
Akan: Istanbul
Alemannisch: Istanbul
አማርኛ: ኢስታንቡል
Аҧсшәа: Асҭампыл
العربية: إسطنبول
aragonés: Istambul
arpetan: Istanbul
অসমীয়া: ইষ্টানবুল
asturianu: Estambul
azərbaycanca: İstanbul
تۆرکجه: ایستانبول
bamanankan: Istanbul
Bân-lâm-gú: İstanbul
башҡортса: Истанбул
беларуская: Стамбул
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Стамбул
भोजपुरी: इस्तांबुल
български: Истанбул
Boarisch: Istanbul
bosanski: Istanbul
brezhoneg: Istanbul
буряад: Истанбул
català: Istanbul
Чӑвашла: Стамбул
Cebuano: Estambul
čeština: Istanbul
Chi-Chewa: Istanbul
chiTumbuka: Istanbul
Cymraeg: Istanbul
dansk: Istanbul
davvisámegiella: Istanbul
Deutsch: Istanbul
dolnoserbski: Istanbul
eesti: İstanbul
эрзянь: Стамбул ош
español: Estambul
Esperanto: Istanbulo
estremeñu: Estambul
euskara: Istanbul
فارسی: استانبول
Fiji Hindi: Istanbul
føroyskt: Istanbul
français: Istanbul
Frysk: Istanbûl
Gaeilge: Iostanbúl
Gaelg: İstanbul
Gagauz: İstanbul
Gàidhlig: Istanbul
galego: Istambul
Gĩkũyũ: İstanbul
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌹𐍃𐍄𐌰𐌽𐌱𐌿𐌻
한국어: 이스탄불
Hausa: Santanbul
Հայերեն: Ստամբուլ
हिन्दी: इस्तांबुल
hornjoserbsce: Istanbul
hrvatski: Istanbul
Ilokano: Istanbul
Bahasa Indonesia: Istanbul
interlingua: Istanbul
Interlingue: Istanbul
Ирон: Стамбул
íslenska: Istanbúl
italiano: Istanbul
עברית: איסטנבול
Basa Jawa: Istanbul
kalaallisut: Istanbul
къарачай-малкъар: Истанбул
ქართული: სტამბოლი
kaszëbsczi: Sztambùl
қазақша: Ыстанбұл
kernowek: Istanbul
Kinyarwanda: Istanbul
Kiswahili: Istanbul
Kreyòl ayisyen: Istanboul
Kurdî: Stembol
Кыргызча: Ыстанбул
кырык мары: Стамбул
Ladino: Estambol
лакку: Истамбул
лезги: Истамбул
لۊری شومالی: استانبول
latviešu: Stambula
Lëtzebuergesch: Istanbul
lietuvių: Stambulas
Limburgs: Istanboel
lingála: Istanbul
Livvinkarjala: Istanbul
lumbaart: Istanbul
magyar: Isztambul
मैथिली: इस्तानबुल
македонски: Истанбул
Malagasy: Istanbul
മലയാളം: ഇസ്താംബുൾ
मराठी: इस्तंबूल
მარგალური: სტამბოლი
مازِرونی: استامبول
Bahasa Melayu: Istanbul
Baso Minangkabau: Istanbul
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Istanbul
монгол: Стамбул
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အစ်စတန်ဘူလ်မြို့
Dorerin Naoero: Istanbul
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Istanbul
Nederlands: Istanboel
Nedersaksies: Istanboel
नेपाली: इस्तानबुल
नेपाल भाषा: इस्तान्बुल
нохчийн: Стамбул
Nordfriisk: Istanbul
Norfuk / Pitkern: Istanbul
norsk: Istanbul
norsk nynorsk: Istanbul
occitan: Istambol
олык марий: Стамбул
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Istanbul
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਇਸਤਾਨਬੁਲ
پنجابی: استمبول
پښتو: استنبول
Patois: Istanbul
Picard: Istamboul
Piemontèis: Istanbul
polski: Stambuł
português: Istambul
Qaraqalpaqsha: İstanbul
qırımtatarca: İstanbul
română: Istanbul
rumantsch: Istanbul
Runa Simi: Istanbul
русиньскый: Істанбул
русский: Стамбул
саха тыла: Истанбул
sardu: Istanbul
Scots: Istanbul
shqip: Stambolli
sicilianu: Istanbul
Simple English: Istanbul
سنڌي: استنبول
slovenčina: Istanbul
slovenščina: Carigrad
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Цѣсар҄ь Градъ
ślůnski: Stambuł
Soomaaliga: Istanbuul
کوردی: ئەستەمبوڵ
српски / srpski: Истанбул
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Istanbul
suomi: Istanbul
svenska: Istanbul
Tagalog: Istanbul
Taqbaylit: Istambul
tarandíne: Istanbul
татарча/tatarça: Истанбул
తెలుగు: ఇస్తాంబుల్
tetun: Istanbul
тоҷикӣ: Истанбул
Türkçe: İstanbul
Türkmençe: Ystanbul
тыва дыл: Истaнбул
удмурт: Стамбул
українська: Стамбул
اردو: استنبول
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Istanbul
vèneto: Istanbul
vepsän kel’: Stambul
Tiếng Việt: Istanbul
Volapük: İstanbul
Võro: Istanbul
Winaray: Istanbul
ייִדיש: סטאמבול
Yorùbá: Istanbul
粵語: 伊斯坦堡
Zazaki: Estamol
Zeêuws: Istanbul
žemaitėška: Stambols
中文: 伊斯坦堡
डोटेली: इस्तानबुल
Kabɩyɛ: Isitambuli