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Istanbul, Turkish İstanbul, previously Constantinople, ancient Byzantium, largest city and also principal seaport the Turkey. It was the capital of both the oriental Empire and also the footrest Empire.



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The surname Byzantium may derive from that of Byzas, leader that the Greeks native the city that Megara who, follow to legend, captured the peninsula from pastoral Thracian tribes and built the town about 657 bce. In 196 ce, having actually razed the town for opposing the in a civil war, the roman inn emperor Septimius Severus rebuilt it, specify name it Augusta Antonina in honour that his son. In 330 ce, when Constantine the Great devoted the city together his capital, he referred to as it brand-new Rome. The coinage, nevertheless, continued to be stamped Byzantium until he notified the substitution of Constantinopolis. In ~ the end of the 1st millennium, Greek speaker were reported to describe trips there together eis tēn polin, “into the City,” rather than “to Constantinople.” through the 13th century this Greek expression had come to be an appellation for the city: Istinpolin. With a collection of speech permutations end a span of centuries, this name ended up being Istanbul. Till the Turkish article Office officially adjusted the surname in 1930, however, the city continued to be afflicted with the millenary surname of Constantinople. Pop. (2007) 10,757,327; (2017 est.) urban agglom., 14,744,519.


City site


Introduction come Istanbul, with views the the Hagia Sophia and the Boğazici (Bosporus I) Bridge, and street scenes and a traditional dance.

The old city contains around 9 square mile (23 square km), yet the existing municipal limits stretch a good deal beyond. The initial peninsular city has seven hills, requisite because that Constantine’s “New Rome.” 6 are crests of a long ridge over the golden Horn; the various other is a solitary eminence in the southwest corner. About their slopes room ranged many of the mosques and other historical landmarks that were collectively designated a UNESCO civilization Heritage website in 1985.

By lengthy tradition, the waters washing the peninsula are referred to as “the 3 seas”: they are the gold Horn, the Bosporus, and also the Sea that Marmara. The gold Horn is a deep drowning valley around 4.5 mile (7 km) long. Beforehand inhabitants witnessed it as being shaped like a deer horn, but modern Turks contact it the Haliç (“Canal”). The Bosporus (İstanbul Boğazı) is the channel connecting the black Sea (Karadeniz) come the Mediterranean (Akdeniz) by means of the Sea that Marmara (Marmara Denizi) and the straits that the Dardanelles. The narrow golden Horn separates old Istanbul (Stamboul) come the southern from the “new” city that Beyoğlu come the north; the wider Bosporus divides europe Istanbul native the city’s districts top top the eastern shore—Üsküdar (ancient Chrysopolis) and also Kadıköy (ancient Chalcedon).

Istanbul: golden Horn
Boats in the golden Horn, Istanbul.
Geoff Tompkinson/GTImage.com (A betterworld2016.org posting Partner)

Like the forces of history, the forces of nature impinge top top Istanbul. The great rivers that Russia and middle Europe—the Danube, Don, Dnieper, and also Dniester—make the black color Sea colder and also less briny 보다 the Mediterranean. The black color Sea waters thrust southward with the Bosporus, however beneath castle the salty warmth waters the the Mediterranean press northward as a an effective undercurrent running through the same channel.


The prevailing northeast wind, or poyraz, comes from the black Sea, giving means at times during the winter to an icy blast indigenous the Balkans recognized as the karayel, or “black veil,” qualified of freeze the gold Horn and also even the Bosporus. The lodos, or southwest wind, have the right to raise storms top top the Sea that Marmara.

City layout

Fire, earthquake, riot, and also invasion have ruined Istanbul numerous times, an ext than 60 conflagrations and numerous earthquakes being important sufficient to have actually been videotaped in history. The traces of these disasters, though, have actually been swept away in tide of extensive urban development: today large roadways run through the historic quarters of the old city, and unpaved alleys overhung v old wooden homes coexist with modern high-rise buildings, office parks, and also shopping malls.

Portions of the wall surfaces of Stamboul remain. The soil walls, which isolate the peninsula from the mainland, to be breached only once, through cannon that the footrest sultan Mehmed II (the Conqueror) in 1453, in ~ the spot since called Cannon gate (Top Kapısı). The walls space 4.5 mile (7 km) long and consist the a twin line the ramparts—the inner developed in 413, the external in 447—protected through a moat. The higher inner wall surface is about 30 feet (9 metres) high and 16 feet (5 metres) thick and is studded through 60-foot (18-metre) towers about 180 feet (55 metres) apart. The 92 turrets originally raised ~ above the external wall, 56 are still standing.

Istanbul, Turkey: Constantinople, walls of
Walls of Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul, Turkey.
Dennis Jarvis (CC-BY-2.0) (A betterworld2016.org publishing Partner)

The sea walls were developed in 439. Only short sections of your 30-foot- (9-metre-) high stonework still remain along the gold Horn. Intact, these walls had actually 110 towers and also 14 gates. The walls along the Sea of Marmara, i beg your pardon stretch about 5 miles (8 km) indigenous Seraglio Point, curving around the bottom that the peninsula to join the soil walls, had 188 towers; they were, however, only about 20 feet (6 metres) high, due to the fact that the Marmara currents provided an excellent protection versus enemy landings. Most of these walls still stand.

Within the city walls are the 7 hills, their summits flattened v the ages yet their slopes quiet steep and also toilsome. Geographers number them from the seaward guideline of the peninsula, proceeding inland along the golden Horn, the last hill standing alone whereby the land wall surfaces reach the Sea that Marmara.

Watch the building of the five-kilometer rail tunnel under the Bosporus
Learn around the construction of a rail tunnel (2013) under the Bosporus, 2009 video.

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The Galata and also Atatürk bridges cross the golden Horn to Beyoğlu. Every day prior to dawn your centre spans space swung open up to enable passage to seagoing ships. The shores the the Horn, served by water buses, space a jumble of docks, warehouses, factories, and occasional historic ruins. Ferries to the oriental side that Istanbul leaving from under the Galata Bridge. Istanbul has actually three of the world’s longest suspension bridges: Bosporus i (Boğazici) leg (completed in 1973), v a main expectations of 3,524 feet (1,074 metres); Bosporus II, the Fatih Sultan Mehmed bridge (1988), 3,576 feet (1,090 metres); and Bosporus III, the Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge (2016), 4,620 feet (1,408 metres). 2 tunnels under the Bosporus, one for passenger rail and one for car traffic, were opened up in 2013 and also 2016 respectively.