İstanbul is the largest city
of Turkey. It is situated on the shores of the Bosphorus, and is bordered to the north by the Black Sea, to the east by the
region of Kocaeli and the Marmara Sea and to the west by Tekirdağ and the Kırklareli region. The city covers a total
area of 5712 km2 including, within the urban district, the islands of the Marmara known as the Princess Islands. It’s
flanked by a high range of hills to the east of the Bosphorus, the highest of which is Aydos (573 m.) near Kartal. Çamlıca
hill (229 m.) east of Üsküdar, is recognized a tourist spot.Forests surround the city sporadically, the most extensive being
the Belgrad Forest which is 20 kms. to the north of the city.
Istanbul winters are warm and wet,
summers are hot and dry. The climate is tempered by warm Mediterranean winds which counter frequent Black sea cold fronts.
Temperatures vary moderately between day and night, and from season to season. The summer season is approximately 90 days
long, while winter is 80 days long. Snow falls for an average of 7 days in a year.
The largest river in the region
is the Riva, which flows into the Black Sea. In addition, there are two rivers flowing into the Bosphorus, Istinye Deresi
and Büyük Dere. The region also boasts three small but notable lakes, all on the European shores of the Bosphorus. These are
the fresh-water Terkos, which supply the city with much of their water, and the inland seas of Küçük Çekmece and Büyük Çekmece
on the Marmara coast, which are salt water lagoons. Fish are found in both of these lakes which are situated in same areas.
The city, which has a population
of 13 million, is a major port and trade centre. It is the most important city in Turkey, possessing a number of universities,
high schools, libraries and cultural centres. The city is an impressive sight, situated, as it is, on a site dominating both
the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, and brimming with fine monuments and artefacts of the Byzantine and Ottoman area.
Up to the Turkish conquest of Istanbul
by Mehmet 2 in 1453, the city was the centre of the Byzantine Empire. After that date it became the centre of the Ottoman
Empire. After the ounding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the capital of Turkey became Ankara.