On cruise day 3 we arrived in Istanbul where the ship was docked overnight. Istanbul, which also has a fascinating history, is a divided city in that part of it lies in Europe, while part is in Asia Minor, separated by the Bosphorus. Istanbul is the largest city in Europe, and as our guide told us, among the world’s most populated city within city limits with an estimated 11 million people. Moreover the actual population is probably even larger than that recorded by census, as many residents return to their home towns for census day and are not counted as residents in Istanbul.
Istanbul was founded by a Greek colonist, Byzas, around 660 BC, and known as Byzantium for nine centuries. Later in 330 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine renamed the city Constantinople. Over the next 16 centuries till modern times it was the capital of four major Empires. These were the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine Empire (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261) and the Ottoman Empire (1453 to 1922). Today though, Ankara and not Istanbul, is the capital of The Republic of Turkey.