Istanbul has an ancient and diverse history as a meeting point between East and West, Asia and Europe. Inhabited since the Neolithic period, it became the city of Byzantium after Greek settlement in the 7th century BCE. Renamed Constantinople in 330 CE, it was successively the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, Ankara became the capital of Turkey, but Istanbul remains at the centre of Turkish economic and cultural life.

  • Istanbul is rich in cultural heritage from its history as a Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman capital
  • After becoming a European Capital of Culture in 2010 it has developed its contemporary cultural offer, with new museums including the Hilye-i Şerif and Prayer Beads Museum.
  • The Istanbul Biennial is a major event on the international visual art circuit, attracting over 500,000 visitors per year.

Istanbul is massively rich in cultural heritage, and the historic peninsula of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some landmarks date back to Roman times, including the monumental Valens Aqueduct. However, buildings from the Byzantine and Ottoman era dominate the city’s skyline. The Hagia Sophia was inaugurated in 537 AD as the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, and was the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years. Today it is a museum. Both the 16th century Süleymaniye Mosque and the 17th century Blue Mosque mix the inspiration of the Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture. Other landmarks of the Ottoman era include the Topkapi Palace, which was the residence and administrative centre of the Ottoman sultans for centuries. It is now a museum operated by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Istanbul’s rich archaeological heritage has occasionally posed issues for development. The Marmaray tunnel under the Bosphorus was delayed for years after the discovery of the remains of a Neolithic settlement and a Byzantine harbour with a multitude of intact shipwrecks. In the wake of these ground-breaking discoveries, a museum is being created to showcase the finds.

Cultural and heritage policy in Istanbul is shaped by a number of bodies, including the national Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Public investment is largely concentrated on heritage restoration and the creation of cultural centres. Increasing cultural participation remains a challenge; many city residents have yet to develop the habit of visiting museums and libraries and attending cultural events. Another challenge is increasing cooperation and collaboration between government bodies, cultural institutions and the private sector.

But when we talk about culture and cultural activities, this category includes many of fields like fine arts, media, cultural places and etc.

Currently, there are 72 libraries and 63 cultural centers in Istanbul which makes this city more attractive for cultural and scientific activities. The city also enjoys 28 concert halls, 23 theatre and 70 movie theatre saloons which could be an attractive place for this kind of activists.

For those passengers who like media activities also, it is perhaps good to know that there are 15 TV stations and 130 radio stations beside of 337 local and 28 national papers active in Istanbul. Some international broadcasting companies like CNN also have office in this city that employ some of expert journalists in this city and from this view, it is a good chance for this kind of activists to try for employment in media section of this great city.

There are also 68 art galleries, designated for those artists who need to present their works in a global scale level city with intellectual price and among people of a nation who are famous for their activities in art and fine arts field.