Besides tourist attractions and the wonderful life here, did you know that the city of Istanbul binds to less known things? From tulips to Agatha Christie, there are a few secrets about the big city, which are not accessible to the general public, at least until now.
1. Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans over two continents: Asia and Europe.
2. Istanbul, although the ancient capital of several empires, from the Roman to the Ottoman, is not the modern capital of Turkey, which is located in Ankara.
3. Istanbul, known as Constantinople, thanks to the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, is built on seven hills, like Rome’s hills.
4. Under the Ottoman Empire, the city was famous for more than 1,400 public toilets.
5. Although it is not the capital of the country, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey with over 13 million inhabitants, of which 99% are Muslim.
6. Tulips, the symbol of Netherlands, have their origin in Istanbul, being the city from which the flowers arrived in Netherlands.
7. The Grand Bazaar is the largest and the oldest covered bazaar in the world with over 3,000 stores.
8. The British author Agatha Christie wrote the famous novel “Murder on the Orient Express” in the hotel Pera Palas in Istanbul.
9. Istanbul is surrounded by the sea, the Bosporus Strait crossing it right through the middle. However, snow is common here, the annual average being 45 cm.
10. Istanbul has the same population – over 13 million people – as one of the smallest countries in Europe: Belgium.
11. Originally called The Tower of Jesus, Galata Tower was built in 1348 on top of the fortified walls and served as prison for prisoners of war. Later, it became an astronomical observatory and now offers the panoramic view of the city for those who climb it.
12. It was source of inspiration for famous writers, from Paul Theroux and Ernst Hemingway to Orhan Pamuk and Abdülhak Sinasi Hisar.
13. Istanbul was declared in 1502 the busiest city in the world.
14. Istanbul boasts with the oldest subway in the world, which was built in 1875. It has a length of 573 meters and is located in Beyoglu district.
15. Istanbul was the European Capital of Culture in 2010, but it never hosted the Olympics.