Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, constituting the country’s economic, cultural, and historical heart. Its commercial and historical center lies in the European part of Eurasia, while about a third of its population lives in the Asian part. With a population of 14.1 million, the city forms the largest urban agglomeration in Europe as well as the largest in the Middle East, and the sixth-largest city proper in the world. Istanbul’s vast area of 5,343 square kilometers (2,063 sq miles) is coterminous with Istanbul Province, of which the city is the administrative capital. Istanbul is a transcontinental city, straddling the Bosphorus strait in northwestern Turkey between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.
Millions (12-13) foreign visitors arrive in Istanbul every year, then it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world’s fifth-most-popular tourist destination. The city’s biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its cultural and entertainment hub can be found across the city’s natural harbor, the Golden Horn, in the Beyoğlu district. Considered a global city, Istanbul is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies in the world. It hosts the headquarters of many Turkish companies and media outlets and accounts for more than a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product.