No, we do not go to work on camels. And no, that is not a river that seperates Istanbul. Here’s a list of all the other questions you may have in mind about this ancient city that you might want explained before you visit.

1Istanbul is NOT the capital of modern day Turkey:

Ankara is. Istanbul was, however, capital to the Ottoman Empire and the Byzantine Empire.

2Most well known other names of Istanbul are: Byzantium, Konsantinopolis (Konstantiniyye) and Stamboul.

3Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, a metropolitan with a population over 17 million.

4Istanbul is the only city that sits on two continents: Europe and Asia.

What seperates the two continents is the Bosphorus Strait, a strait that connects the Black Sea with the Marmara Sea (and eventually, the Mediterranean.) Many residents have to commute from one continent to another, everyday.

5In 1954, The Bosphorus froze.

People were actually able to cross the strait walking on huge chunks of ice.

6But you can now cross continents with an undersea tunnel.

Avrasya Tunnel was opened recently, in 2016.

7The best time to visit Istanbul is late spring or early fall, as the weather is pleasant and warm enough for walking.

9The first coffeehouse of the world, Kiva Han opened in Istanbul in 1475.

Painting: A Turkish Coffeehouse. Jean-Leon Gerome. (1884 or earlier.) Photo:

10Istanbul has the world’s 3rd oldest subway in the world.

It was built in 1875, after London(1863) and New York(1868). It’s called “Tünel” and it travels for one stop from Karaköy to Pera for 573meters.

11One of the biggest diamonds in the world, the Spoonmaker’s Diamond (Kaşıkçı Elması) is in Istanbul.

It’s an 86 carat (17.2g) pear shaped diamond. It’s exhibited in the “Conquerer’s Pavillion” of the Topkapı Palace. Legend goes that a poor fisherman found the diamond near Yenikapı, Istanbul and sold it to a jeweler for 3 spoons.

14To the southeast of the city, there’s an archipelago of 9 car-free islands, known as the Prince’ Islands.

The islands are a popular weekend getaway for the Istanbulite.

15Istanbul is a great place to be a cat.

There’s a lot of stray cats and dogs in Istanbul and locals care for the cat population especially. Cats of Istanbul are such kings and queens that they get to have their own statutes, Instagram accounts and their own documentary. Some even suggest that the city’s name should be called “Catstantinople.”