The host city
Istanbul, located between the Black Sea and Marmara Sea and with the Bosphorus Staright cutting through its centre, has been the centre of many civilizations throughout the ages as a result of its geographical location. Istanbul, which formerly belonged to the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, is now the Turkish Republic’s most important city from a cultural and economic perspective. Istanbul is the only city in the world standing upon two continents, Asia and Europe, with the perfect blend of cultures and heritage from both sides. Istanbul is divided in three by the north-south Bosphorus Strait , the dividing line between Europe and Asia, the estuary of the Golden Horn bisecting the western part and the Sea of Marmara forming a boundary to the south. Most sights are concentrated in the old city on the peninsula of Sultanahmet, to the west of the Bosphorus between the Horn and the Sea. Across the Horn to the north are Galata, Beyoğlu and Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul, while Kadıköy is the major district on the comparatively less-visited Anatolian side of the city. The Black Sea forms the northern boundary of Istanbul.