Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and the most populated in Europe. It is considered one of the most beautiful European cities, being one of three transcontinental cities located between Europe and Asia.
According to the latest estimates by the Census Bureau of the Istanbul Council and the Turkish Institute of Statistics (2013) the population of this megalopolis has increased to reach 14,160,467 inhabitants.
Although the political and administrative capital is Ankara, Istanbul still plays a key role in industry, commerce and Turkish culture. It houses more than a dozen universities and is the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople, the head of the Orthodox Church.
The historic zones of Istanbul were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1985 for their important monuments and historical remains.