Metropolis on Two Continents

Istanbul ranks high in World Cities Culture Report

Istanbul ranks high in World Cities Culture Report

Istanbul is among the top major international cities in terms of cultural offerings, according to a new study. The results are part of a recently published survey titled the World Cities Culture Report, created by the office of the mayor of London.

While the report doesn’t rank the cities, it shows that Istanbul leads the pack in the number of heritage and historical sites. The study only considered 12 cities — New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Paris, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Singapore, Istanbul and Sydney.

The results are part of a recently published survey titled the World Cities Culture Report, created by the office of the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The survey finds that Istanbul has the highest number of heritage / historical sites 30.188, nearly 118 cinemas with 501 cinema screens, 267 art galleries, 463 bookshops, 184 theaters putting on 6,349 theatre shows, 657 bars, 1,508 restaurants in Istanbul. Each year Istanbul is visited by 8,057,879 international tourists.

Each city was studied according to six themes: cultural heritage, literary culture, film and games, performing arts, people and talent, and cultural diversity.

Istanbul is both an ancient and modern city. Istanbul’s history and thus culture is apparent in its buildings. The city’s architecture mixes Western and Eastern styles. The Byzantine and Ottoman buildings defines the city with the Hagia Sophia being the most notable Byzantine one, which stood as the world’s largest cathedral for a thousand years, before being turned into a mosque under Ottoman rule. Today Hagia Sophia is a museum. The many great Ottoman buildings include the Topkapi Palace – for centuries the residence and administrative centre of the Ottoman sultans, now also a museum – and the Blue and Süleymaniye Mosques. The international significance of many of the sites is recognised by their inclusion in UNESCO’s ‘Historic Areas of Istanbul’ World Heritage Site.

Istanbul’s contemporary culture is attracting increasing attention. It was one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2010. Many festivals, exhibitions and events were held, and two new museums were developed: the Museum of the Princes’ Islands, and the Museum of Innocence, established by the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk.

The national Ministry of Culture and Tourism sponsors a range of activity in the city including theatre and the film industry, as well as festivals, concerts, exhibitions, conferences and fairs.

Istanbul has considerable strengths – its growing wealth, its position as Turkey’s cultural leader and pioneer, and the increasing interest in the arts and culture, and most of all, its young, dynamic population. Istanbul is tapping into this energy and dynamism by rapidly integrating with other cities of culture, and its policymakers are positioning it as a ‘global city’.

Click through to the World Cities Culture Report’s website for more in-depth profiles.

To explore some more cultural subsets, check out: the world’s top ten cities for street foods and the Top 5 Global Destination Cities.

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