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Istanbul, Turkey
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    (667 BC- )
    Population (2007): 11,174,257
    Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople
    Former capital of the Roman Empire (330-395), Byzantine Empire (395-1204,1261-1453), Latin Empire (1204-61) and Ottoman Empire (1453-1923)
    Half the city was burned down and 30,000 killed in the Nika Riots that broke out following chariot races (532 AD).
    It was sacked during the 4th Crusade (1204).
    It lost its role as capital of Turkey to Ankara (1923).
    The Turkish postal authorities got the rest of the world to adopt Istanbul by refusing to deliver mail addressed to Constantinople (1930).
    Because of a population boom and illegal construction, two thirds of the buildings are not up to standard.
    Geo-Hazards International ranked it second on a list of world cities most vulnerable to earthquakes.
    It is the only metropolis located on two continents.
    After the Ottoman conquest, (1453), Sultan Mehmed II encouraged settlement by Moslems, Christians and Jews, creating a cosmopolitan society.
    When the Jews were expelled from Spain (1492), 93,000 settled in Istanbul.
    It is responsible for 55% of Turkey's trade and over 20% of its GNP.
    Its historical districts were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List (1985).

Credit: C. Fishel

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