The Bosphorus Strait creates a natural north-south divide between European Istanbul and Asian Istanbul. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea further divide Istanbul into the three main districts of Beyoglu, Istanbul and Uskudar, which are connected by the Galata Bridge and the Ataturk Bridge.
Originally known as Byzantium, Istanbul was renamed and rebuilt as Constantinople by the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in the fourth century AD. The name Istanbul is a Turkish contraction of Constantinoupolis, with the Turkish article I on the front. Istanbul was the capital city of Turkey for 1,600 years until 1923. Numerous ancient ruins from the Hellenic period, the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire are scattered across the city.
Banks, luxury hotels, restaurants, theaters, shops and consulates cluster together in Taksim Square and Beyoglu the heart of modern Istanbul and the center of its thriving finance and trade industries.
Turkish troops participated in the Korean War shedding blood alongside Korean and other UN troops to maintain Korea’s freedom. Istanbul established a sister city relationship with Busan on June 4, 2002.