Istanbul. What are the differences between the Asian side and European side?

Istanbul is a city divided by the sea located on two continents: Asia and Europe. There are, of course, some differences between two sides, Asian (Anadolu) side and European (Avrupa) sides of the city in terms of lifestyle, history, transportation, population etc. Below is a short list showing the differences between two sides of the city.

  • Asian side is older than the European side. Before Byzantium was build, there were settlements around Kadikoy, Fikirtepe (a neigbourhood in the limits of Kadikoy district) and Pendik.
  • European side is more historical than the Asian side. Constantinople, which was the area inside the walls, was the city center during both the Roman and Ottoman period. Towns on the Asian side were the villages of the city until the ferry started in the 19th century. Another reason why Asian side isn’t as historical as the European side is that, for instance, the stones of the walls around Kadikoy were carried to the other side and used in the construction of public buildings. Therefore, there are not many historical buildings left on the Asian side.
  • European side is more populated than the Asian side due to the fact that European side has always been the center of trade, business and industry. They say Asian side is dormitory of the city.
  • European side is regarded as more “European”  or “westerner” – relatively. In the light of the fact that the city center has always been the European side and the European colonies were on this side, it is true to call the European side more European or westerner in terms of appearance.
  • Asian side is greener than the European side.
  • Public bus lines on the European side are two times more than the Asian side whereas train lines is one and half time more than the European side.
  • Asian side is higher than the European side with the hills like Aydos Tepesi and Camlica Tepesi.
  • The coast line on the Asian side is nicer and more well-organized than the Europan side. There are more space on the Asian side for jogging, walking, biking starting from Kadikoy and going along Fenerbahce, Caddebostan, Bostanci up to Maltepe.
  • Crime rate on the Asian side is less than the European side.
  • Number of hotels on the European side is more than the Asian side because the European side is the center of attraction for business, trade and tourism.
  • Sports centers, stadiums are more on the European side than the Asian side. Asian side has Sukru Saracoglu Stadium (Fenerbahce SK) in Kadikoy and Formula 1 circuit.
  • European side has more shopping malls than the Asian side.
  • Most TV channels and press is located on the European side.
  • The longest metro line has been constucted on the Asian side.
  • Nightlife is more active on the European side than the Asian side.
  • There are three football clubs playing in the Turkish league: Besiktas JK, Galatasay SK and Kasimpasa SK. Fenerbahce SK is the only Istanbul football team located on the Asian side playing in the Turkish football league.
  • There are more military schools on the Asian side than the European side.
  • Asian side has the biggest cemetery, not only in Istanbul, also all over Turkey.
  • There are more university campuses on the European side than the Asian side.
  • Marmara University, the only university in the world located on two contines is based on the Asian side.
  • On the Bosphorus bridges you don’t have to pay to get to the European side whereas you have to pay to get to the Asian side.
  • The first Turkish town in Istanbul is Anadoluhisari on the Asian side.
  • The first mosque built in Istanbul is in Karakoy on the European side: Arap Camii (Built in 717 by the Genoeses colony)
  • Both sides have an international airport. Atatürk havalimani on the European side and Sabiha Gokcen on the Asian side.
  • Both sides have a marina. Atakoy on the European side and Kalamis, Fenerbahce on the Asian side. Soon a second marina will be open in Pendik on the Aasian side.
  • Both sides have a popular street. Istiklal Caddesi on the European side is a very cultural, historical, cosmopolit street located between Taksim and Karakoy, Bagdat Caddesi on the Asian side is a very modern street today located between Kadikoy and Bostanci. Bagdat Caddesi is modern street but actualy it is a very old road for the eastern campaign of the Roman and Ottoman armies. This is why it was called Baghdat street.

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