Which Continent is Istanbul In?

The city of Istanbul on either side of the Bosphorus Strait.
The city of Istanbul on either side of the Bosphorus Strait.

The Republic of Turkey is a transcontinental nation situated in both the continents of Europe and Asia. The larger portion of Turkey (97%) lies in Anatolia, West Asia while the remaining part lies on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. Istanbul is a renowned city in the northwestern side of Turkey close to the Marmara area. The city serves as a historic, cultural and economic central point in Turkey. The city is divided by the Bosphorus Strait. The historic and commercial central point of Istanbul is positioned on the European side with a third of its population being estimated to be living on the Asian side.


The city covers a total area of 2,063 square miles. The waterway that connects the Black City to the Marmara Sea separates the city into a European and Asian side. In addition, Istanbul is further split by a natural harbor named “Golden Horn” which connects to the peninsula. The converging point of the Sea of Marmara, the Golden Horn, and the Bosporus Strait are conspicuous features that form the unique landscape of the city.


Istanbul has been ranked among the world’s large cities since ancient times. Currently, Istanbul city is estimated to have a population of over 15 million people which makes it one of the most densely populated cities on the planet. The city is thus identified as the 4th biggest city globally and the biggest city in Europe. As a cosmopolitan city, Istanbul is home to numerous ethnic communities with the Kurdish forming the largest ethnic group. The vast majority of residents are Muslims but orthodox Christians form a substantial population.

Istanbul’s Administration

Istanbul is governed by the metropolitan municipality of Istanbul whose mandate is to supervise the 39 city province districts. The municipal government is in charge of the overall city matters which include, managing the budget, upholding civic infrastructure and supervising significant cultural centers. The government functions under the control of a powerful mayor who has the capacity to make swift decisions which are often not transparent. The Metropolitan Executive Committee is responsible for advising the municipal council though it has restrictions in making own decisions. The district councils mainly deal with the control of waste and building projects in their district. Members of the municipal council together with those of the district council and the Metropolitan mayor are subjected to a term that comprises of five years. In addition, the provincial government operating at the same level as the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has the duty to oversee the construction and maintenance of roads, schools, government buildings, and residential homes.

Istanbul’s Economy

Istanbul has an estimated GDP of 301.1 billion dollars. Its economy has been growing rapidly since the mid-1990s. Istanbul accounts for 27 percent of the total GDP in Turkey. The city accommodates 20% of the total population working in industries across Turkey. The dense population and high contribution to the economy account for two-fifths of the national tax revenue of the country. Istanbul has an all-around economy that majors in the production of products like tobacco, olive oil, electronics, and vehicles. The city focuses on work that is of high-value addition. Production companies located in Istanbul produce exports that amount to 41.4 billion dollars while imports amount to a total of 69.9 billion dollars. Istanbul is significantly becoming a popular tourist destination with an estimate of 12.6 million tourists annually.


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