With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th century Hagia Sophia and the 16th century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanisation. At the centre of the image and located directly on the Bosphorus is to be found Galata, one of the most vibrant districts of this Oriental metropolis. The historic old city with its numerous mosques, churches and bazaars is at the lower edge of the image. In the centre, the Topkapi palace in the European part of the city can be identified. The Bosphorus Bridge, on the right, was opened in 1973 to connect the European and Asian parts of the city.
The image was taken on 20 December 2003 by the Ikonos satellite and has a resolution of one metre. It covers an area of 5 by 10 kilometres.
Credit: European Space Imaging / DLR.