International Students

Living in Istanbul

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and 5th largest city in the world. It is truly a “megacity” that serves as the cultural, economic, and financial center of Turkey. Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the “Golden Horn.” It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus and is therefore the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. Istanbul is a designated alpha world city. In its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital city of the Roman Empire (330-395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). Historic areas of Istanbul were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985, and the city was chosen as joint European Capital of Culture for 2010.

Istanbul, European Capital of Culture 2010

Istanbul maintains a distinguished position among the metropolises of the world with its unique geographical location and a cultural heritage of thousands of years. As one of the most energetic cities in the world, Istanbul has a thriving tourism sector that attracts millions of foreigners each year. The 2010 European Capital of Culture recognition has engendered renewed activity in the preservation and proliferation of Turkey’s multi-dimensional and incredibly rich cultural heritage. 

Many people invested in the global elevation of culture and arts, together with members of the print and visual media, have come to Istanbul from around the world to visit and contribute to the city’s cultural riches. This influx has established a lasting and positive international recognition of Istanbul’s inherent value, boosting the city’s relations with Europe and beyond. Istanbul has achieved lasting gains in the fields of urban renewal, urban living and environmental and social development. New museums have been established to protect and display Turkey’s cultural assets; and historical buildings have been renovated, given new roles and opened to the public. Citizens are embracing new artistic disciplines. Young talented people have the opportunity to become more closely involved in artistic creativity.