Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, forming the country's economic, cultural, and historical heart, and has a population of over 13 million. A continental and cosmopolitan city, Istanbul is also one of Europe’s commercial and historical centres.
Istanbul began life around 660 BC as Byzantium. Following its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 AD, it served as the capital of four empires: the late classical Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman ("Byzantine") Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire for nearly sixteen centuries.
The Bosphorus, which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, divides the city into a European side, comprising the historic and economic centres, and an Asian, Anatolian side. Apart from being the largest city and former political capital of the country, Istanbul has always been the centre of Turkey's economic life because of its location.
Because of its rich and long history, Istanbul is a major tourist destination and was named as a European Capital of Culture in 2010. Indeed, Sultanahmet Square, Sultanahmet Mosque, Hadja Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace Museum, Dolmabahce Museum, Basilica Sistern, the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar are well worth a visit.
At night, Istanbul continues to be an entertaining city. Diners can be entertained as they eat with traditional Turkish songs or even belly dancing. The Taksim-Harbiye district has plenty of cabaret and jazz clubs as well as discos, while in Sultanahmet, there are a number of restaurants in restored Byzantine and Ottoman buildings which offer a unique setting for an evening out.
The iconic Cicek Pasajı in the district of Beyoglu offers snacks and seafood specialties and has been a popular meeting point for Turkish people over a number of years. Close to Cicek Pasajı is the narrow Nevizade Street, which is the best place in the city for eating Turkish delicacies and drinking rakı, an anise-flavoured spirit. Kumkapı, with its many taverns, bars and fish restaurants, is also another attractive and popular area to visit.
So many teams are located in Istanbul but the three most famous ones are Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray which were founded 1903, 1907 and 1905 respectively .The city’s biggest stadiums are the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Fenerbahce’s Sukru Saracoglu Stadium and the Galatasaray Arena.
The Ataturk Olympic Stadium hosted the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final between AC Milan and Liverpool. The Sukru Saracoglu stadium hosted the final UEFA Cup between Werder Bremen and Shakhtar Donetsk in 2009.