1- Istanbul used to be capital of three major empires; Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. It is the largest city in Turkey with almost 15 million residents. However, it is not the capital of Turkey. That honor goes to the city of Ankara.

2- It was called Byzantium until Constantine the Great declared the city the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire on May 11, 330 AD. The city was called Constantinople until the Turks conquered the city.

3-   Throughout the middle ages, Istanbul was the largest and wealthiest city. In the year 361, with more than 300.000 people, it was also the most populous city in the world.

4-  Following London then New York City, it has the third oldest subway in the world. It is 573m long and located in Galata.

5- Istanbul is the last station of the Orient Express that used to operate between Paris and the city until 1977. Agatha Christi wrote her famous book ‘Murder on the Orient Express in Pera Palas Hotel in Istanbul.

6- Many people think the tulip belongs to Holland when in fact tulip bulbs where shipped to Vienna and other European cities from Istanbul.

7- A finalist for a New 7 Wonders of the World, Hagia Sophia Church is located in Istanbul. It had been the largest church in the world for almost 1000 years until the Cathedral in Seville, Spain was completed.


8- Istanbul is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, Europe and Asia. It is also the only city where you can take the subway to another continent.

9- The oldest and largest historical bazaar in the world is located in Istanbul. The Grand Bazaar covers over 61 streets and is home to more than 4,000 stores!

10- The 4 bronze horses that were once on the facade, above the porch of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice were actually stolen from the Hippodrome of Istanbul during the sack of Constantinople. The original statues are now located inside the Basilica. These are just some historical and interesting facts that make Istanbul unique.


We, at Real Istanbul Tours’ local guides in istanbul look forward to sharing many more with you during private tours in Istanbul.


Local Guide of Real Istanbul Tours

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