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Why Istanbul?

A splendid city of dreams built on Europe and Asia…A city of Byzas, a city of Theodosius, a city of Justinian, a city of Mehmed II, a city of Sinan, a city of Atatürk…With its 8000 years of history, Istanbul is like a labyrinth, its layers are intertwined and every corner of it is full of surprises…

Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, is home to more than 15 million people and is still growing as people move there from rural areas to find work. It is unique among the cities of the world, having one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. Istanbul is Turkey's economic capital and biggest trade center, home to nearly half of the country's wealth.

The city never sleeps in this noisy and very cosmopolitan city. The Turks always seem to take the mayhem in good spirit, and so when you visit, you should too. The twisting, crowded old city streets exude an infectious energy. Like strong a Turkish coffee, Istanbul can be gritty, but its rich flavor is bracing!

2010 Capital of Culture: Istanbul
Istanbul, which once served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, has been designated as a cultural capital along with the German city of Essen and the Hungarian city of Pecs.

The title, designated by the European Union as a showcase to depict cultural life and development, is anticipated to revive heritage and creative capacity of culture in Istanbul, also viewed as a great opportunity to enhance Turkey's image and sound its name. The first Turkish city to be given the title, Istanbul hopes to increase its number of visitors from 7.5 million to 10 million with around 170 cultural events throughout the year. The 2010 European Capital Of Culture Program has plenty of highlights and events lined up all through 2010 to make your visit memorable.


"I am leaving half of my heart in Istanbul"

said Pope Benedict XVI, during his 3 day visit to Turkey in November 2006

Because of it's location between Asia and Europe, Istanbul has always had a great geopolitical importance in the world. Now Istanbul is an international art and cultural center. The International Arts and Cultural Festival is held each year in June with participation of many artists from around the world.