Located in a large agricultural region, Istanbul Province produces cotton, fruit, olive oil, silk, and tobacco. The city is the chief seaport and commercial and financial center of Turkey.
The population (12 million) grows fast with immigration from the other parts of Turkey.
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Industries in Istanbul include shipbuilding, liquor distilling, and the manufacture of cement, cigarettes, foodstuffs, glass, leather products, and pottery.
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In 324 the Roman emperor Constantine the Great selected the ancient city of Byzantium as the site of his new capital, which he later named Constantinople. Like Rome, Constantinople was built on seven hills and at one time was surrounded by walls.
Istanbul is famous as one of the most often besieged cities in the world. Before the Turkish conquest its assailants included the Arabs (673-78, 717-18), the Bulgarians (813, 913), and the armies of the Fourth Crusade, which twice succeeded in taking the city (1203, 1204). After Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, the city became the capital of the Ottoman, or Turkish, Empire; it was the capital of present-day Turkey until 1923, when the newly founded Turkish Republic declared Ankara (then Angora) the capital. From 1918 until 1923 Great Britain, France, and Italy occupied the city.
The name was officially changed to Istanbul in 1930.
Major cities near Istanbul :
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