Though not the capital, Istanbul is the cultural, economic, and financial heart of Turkey with a population of over 13 million people. Situated on the Bosphorus strait, this metropolis, a former capital of the Roman Empire, spans Europe and Asia, the only city in the world to cross two continents. The city is dominated by historical monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman era, with modern nightclubs, up-market restaurants and boutique hotels helping the city become a tourist hotspot. Istanbul was awarded the status of European Capital of Culture in 2010.
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