Once the capital of Ottoman Empire, Istanbul now serves as Turkish Republic’s capital city, probably the most developed city in Middle East. Districts aren’t well connected to each other, so camels and donkeys are still a must for transportation. Turks eat kebab and doner three times a day. Men can marry five women and women have to wear burqa outside. Climate is hot with no humidity, because deserts cover 85% of the country. Anyway, better to keep reading to know more about Istanbul.
Let’s start with ‘Istanbul not Constantinople’ ;
*Graphics made by Dotun Ogunsakin
Istanbul, capital of Turkey;
Well, Istanbul has been capital of Byzantine and Ottoman Empire for centuries, but, now, it is just the biggest and most known city of Turkish Republic. Since 1923, Ankara is officially the capital city. While parliament, ministries, and governmental agencies settle in Ankara. Commercially, Istanbul is still the choice of nearly all international and national companies for their headquarters. Both socially and financially, other cities are behind Istanbul, which caused migrations for years from Anatolian cities. Istanbul’s population is more than 14 million; yep, quite a bit and still rising. For locals, living in Istanbul is becoming harder in many ways.
Lies in two continents, Middle and East;
Bosphorus connects Mediterranean and Black Sea, it cuts through the middle of Istanbul. The western part of city lies in Europe, and the eastern side is in Asia. Bosphorus offers much more, just take a seat facing the sea, order a tea, listen to screaming seagulls, horns of ferries, watch the sun goes down, and enjoy silhouette of Istanbul with red sky background.
Geologically, Istanbul is far from being in Middle East. Culturally you may see similarities because Turks, Persians, and Arabs have lived together for centuries. Istanbul has a unique combination, settled between westernization and conservativeness.
The only camel that you are going to see in Istanbul is in showcases of tobacco shops. Sorry, but you have to go to a zoo or a circus if seeing a camel is your passion. In southern and western parts of Turkey, camels work as full-time tourist trap. Taking a photo with a camel costs you just a few lira, riding it for ten minutes is priceless.
Turkey’s Western and Northern parts are green, mountains and hills are covered with forests, but you are going to see huge arid lands in Middle and Eastern Anatolia.
All of four seasons exist in Turkey and Istanbul has Moderate Mediterranean Climate with dry, hot summers and cool to cold, rainy winters.
Each man has his own harem;
Men can’t marry more than one woman officially, but especially in Eastern parts, some men have 2 or 3 wives; sure second or third wives are not official ones.
More than half of the women wear head scarves because of their religious beliefs. Some women wear burka and cover themselves from head to toe. Theoretically, wearing a mini skirt or a head scarf are up to the women’s decision.
Turks eat kebab and doner few times a week, but Turkish Cuisine has much to offer.
You can check statistics about Turkey from http://www.turkstat.gov.tr