Turkey: Major Cities
Istanbul is situated on either side of the Bosporus, in both Europe and Asia. It is the largest city in Turkey. For nearly 400 years Istanbul was the capital of Turkey. Although no longer the capital, it has remained the country's major port and most important commercial center.
Once called Byzantium, Istanbul became the capital of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) in A.D. 330. The name "Byzantium" later was changed to Constantinople in honor of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. The Turks conquered the city in 1453 and changed the name to Istanbul.
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the nation's second largest city. Once known as Angora, the city is situated in the central part of the Anatolian plateau. The older part of the town was an ancient trading center. The newer town was built by Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), the Turkish republic's first president. Outside the new town is a magnificent monument marking Atatürk's burial place.
Izmir (Smyrna) is located on the Aegean Sea. It is the second most important port in Turkey, exporting mainly agricultural products, such as tobacco and cotton.
Adana, the center of the cotton industry, is located on the Seyhan River in the southern part of Asian Turkey.