This April 7, 2000 image of Istanbul, Turkey shows a 21 by 24 km Advanced Spaceborne Thermal
Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)
sub-scene in the visible and infrared channels.
Vegetation appears red, and urban areas blue-green. Bustling Istanbul, with its
magnificent historical heritage, has spanned the divide between Europe and Asia
for more than 2,500 years. Originally called Byzantium, the city was founded in
the 7th century BC on the Golden Horn, an arm of the narrow Bosporus Strait,
which connects the Sea of Marmara to the south, with the Black Sea to the north.
Constantine I made it his capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in AD 330. As
Constantinople, the strategically located city arose as the preeminent cultural,
religious, and political center of the Western world. It reached the height of
its wealth and glory in the early 5th century. After centuries of decline, the
city entered another period of tremendous growth and prosperity when, as
Istanbul, it became the capital of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1457. Although
Turkey moved its capital to Ankara in 1923, Istanbul remains the nation's largest
city with a population of over 8 million, its commercial center, and a major
port. Two bridges spanning the Bosporus, and ships in the busy channel can be
This metropolis of 15 million people occupies both sides of the entrance to the narrow, 20-mile long Bosporus Strait connecting the Mediterranean and Sea of Marmara (south) to the Black Sea (north). From its founding as Byzantium by the Greeks in 600 B.C., this strategically located city has been a focus of maritime trade and commerce as well as an outpost and threshold for cultural exchange and conflict between Europe and Asia. This digital camera image was taken by the crew of the International Space Station on April 16, 2004. When this image was taken, strong currents carried turbid coastal waters from the Black Sea through the Strait and into the Sea of Marmara.