“Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople” — Jimmy Kennedy, Istanbul (Not Constantinople), 1953
As the above, profound lyrics demonstrate, Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul) is not Constantinople. It is however a city of fantastic history, culture and beauty. Called Byzantium in ancient times, the city's name was changed to Constantinople when it was rebuilt by the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine. It was renamed again in 1928 as Istanbul, a name which had already been in use for centuries.
The most populous city in Europe, Istanbul forms the financial centre of Turkey and confidently straddles the borders between Asia and Europe as it has for millennia: this is the result when you mix ancient Christendom, a medieval metropolis and the modern Middle East. Situated on either side of the Bosphorus, Istanbul retains its metropolitan status: the city's population is estimated to be between 12 and 19 million people, making it one of the largest cities in the world. Read more