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9 Intriguing Facts about Istanbul

Sunset over The Blue Mosque, (Sultanahmet Camii), Istanbul
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Sunset over The Blue Mosque, (Sultanahmet Camii), Istanbul

Istanbul is a real centre of world history and civilizations, which every year tops lists of most tourist-frequented cities in the world. Tour guides and locals alike will tell you many fascinating stories, to which we add another 9 interesting facts about this mighty city.

1. Istanbul is the world’s only city that connects two continents – Europe and Asia.

Istanbul panorama, Turkey
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Istanbul panorama, Turkey

2. Istanbul is home to around 15 million people, which is more than the entire population of a certain 177 of the world's countries put together.

3. The world’s third-oldest, 573-metre-long metro line (rivalled only by those in London and New York) was built in Istanbul in 1875.

4. The Grand Bazaar, which has been operating in the city since 1461, is not only one of the world’s oldest covered markets, but also the largest. It has around 60 streets, 5,000 shops, and is visited by 250,000-400,000 people every day.

Mall Grand Bazaar
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Mall Grand Bazaar

5. Istanbul still has 60 operational Turkish baths called hamams. Another 170 hamams have fallen out of use and have been turned into museums or other premises.

6. Following the Roman model, Istanbul was built on seven hills.

7. During Ottoman rule, when most European cities didn’t even have a sewage system, Istanbul already had 1,400 public toilets.

8. In 1502, Istanbul, with its 700,000 inhabitants, was the world’s most populated city. Its only real rival was Peking.

Bosphorus Bridge at the night
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Bosphorus Bridge at the night

9. Tulips – the symbol of Netherlands – actually came to Western Europe from Istanbul.

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