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Istanbul historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province (municipality) had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010 which is 18% of Turkey population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe (if its Asian half is counted) after London and Moscow. The city in its administrative limits had 8.8 million residents counted in the latest Turkish census from 2000. Istanbul is a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbour known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. Istanbul is a designated alpha world city.
During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330 to 395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395 to 1204 and 1261 to 1453), the Latin Empire (1204 to 1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453 to 1922). When the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29 October 1923, Ankara, which had previously served as the headquarters of the Turkish national movement during the Turkish War of Independence, was chosen as the new Turkish State capital. Istanbul was chosen as a joint European Capital of Culture for 2010 and the European Capital of Sports for 2012. Istanbul is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The historic areas of the city were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.
Apart from being the largest city and former political capital of the country, Istanbul has always been the centre of Turkey economic life because of its location as a junction of international land and sea trade routes. Istanbul is also Turkey largest industrial centre. It employs approximately 20 percentage of Turkey industrial labour and contributes 38 percentages of Turkey industrial workspace. Istanbul and its surrounding province produce cotton, fruit, olive oil, silk, and tobacco. Food processing, textile production, oil products, rubber, metal ware, leather, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics, glass, machinery, automotive, transport vehicles, paper and paper products, and alcoholic drinks are among the city major industrial products. According to Forbes magazine, Istanbul had a total of 35 billionaires as of March 2008, ranking fourth in the world.