The Bosporus separates the Asian and European sections of Istanbul and Turkey and linked by the Bosporus and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.
From 330 to 1453 A.D., Istanbul, then called Constantinople, was capital of the Roman and then of the Byzantine empires, making it one of the world's most important cities.
From 1453 to 1922, was the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1923, Turkey became a republic and the capital was shifted to Ankara to be more central, though Istanbul remained Turkey's economic and cultural centre.
Istanbul has 25 Byzantine churches, nearly 500 mosques, and many museums for tourists to visit.
In 530 A.D. Emperor Justinian built the beautiful Orthodox Christian cathedral, Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia) and later converted into a mosque.
Population around 6 million.
For more information on Turkey Turkey facts and history in brief
Sarolta, my daughter and I were having a a few months trip around Europe, mostly travelling around on our Eurail pass during 1978.
After spending some time exploring Greece and some of their islands, we took a train from Athens to Istambul.
The trip was rather exciting and intersting.
We met some very nice Egyptian man who saved us a lot of trouble and embaressment when our train was "invaded" and practically taken over by a large group of undesirable people.
Sarolta, 17 at the time and I was forced to share an over crowded compartment with them and I felt rather embarassed and protective towards my young daughter.
Many times our friendly Egyptian came to our help.
The crossing of the border was another experience apart from a few hours delay the two neighbours were at at a low key war with each other, which of course we know that lasted for years and that fact was felt by us travellers too.
In 1998 Hui Chin, Endre and I visited Turkey for a few days of a good look around.
After visiting Singapore, Jordan, the Holy Land and Egypt we arrived in Istanbul.
The city is huge, some of it in Europe, some in Asia.
I was born and brought up in Hungary, as you probably already know.
Turkey, the Turkish invasion, our fight against the invasion, the occupation of some parts of our country for over 150 years and the long term effect of that forms a major part in our history.
The Hungarian population suffered enormous losses, due to the wars, resistance and long term occupation. A very large number of neighbouring people were needed to repopulate Hungary after the defeat of the Turkish armies.
Due to the large number, mainly Slav and Romanian population in parts of the country, the victors of the WWI, in their 'Trianon' Agreement awarded 2/3 of the more than thousand years old Hungary to the neighbouring states.
Another reason was, that I spent last 40 odd years in New Zealand, whose people with the Australians (A.N.Z.A.C.) were involved and defeated by the Turks in WWI at Gallipoli.
Also worth mentioning, that we all learnt about Troy and other places in Turkey during our school years.
Present day Turkey, Istanbul and all the other places we've visited were very beautiful, friendly and exciting.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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