Istanbul is a bridge connecting European and Asian continents. The city which is composed of the Black Sea to the north, the Sea of Marmara to the south and the Bosphorus in the center neighbors the district of Saray affiliated with Tekirdağ to the north west, districts of Çerkezköy, Çorlu affiliated with Tekirdağ to the west, district of Marmara Ereğlisi affiliated with Tekirdağ to south east, district of Kandıra affiliated with Kocaeli to north east, district of Körfez affiliated with Kocaeli to east, and district of Gebze affiliated with Kocaeli to south east.
Istanbul, lying on the peninsula between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara after which the city is named, is 5712 km² in its entirety. Islands in the Sea of Marmara are also included in the province of Istanbul.
The vegetation of Istanbul resembles vegetation of the Mediterranean climate. Maquis is the most widespread plant which adapts itself to long and arid summer season. The most important one of the forest areas seen sporadically is Belgrade Forest 20 km to the north of the city.
Rivers and Lakes
There is no big stream in Istanbul. The biggest river is the Riva Creek, which is also the largest stream of the Kocaeli Peninsula. The Riva Creek with a length of 71 km, which originates from Kocaeli, flows in the direction of southeast and northwest and flows into the Black Sea near the village of Riva.
Küçüksu and Göksu Creeks are the most important streams flowing into the Bosphorus. Kağıthane and Alibey creeks flowing into the Golden Horn, Sazlıdere flowing into Lake Küçükçekmece, Karasu Creek flowing into Lake Büyükçekmece, Trança Creek flowing into Lake Terkos are important streams of İstanbul Province. There are three small but important lakes in the province. All three of them are in the European side. Lake Terkos which is separated from the sea has fresh water. This lake is used for water supply of the city. Water of Lake Küçükçekmece (11 km²) and Lake Büyükçekmece (16 km²) stretching along the coast of the Sea of Marmara are salty because of their contact with the sea.
Although the summer months are generally hot and the winter months are not so cold due to the systems that affect the region, Istanbul seems to have the characteristics of the Mediterranean climate, but has different characteristics due to the effects of the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus. In winter, the city is under influence of cold-dry air mass from the Black Sea and the cold-rainy air mass from the Balkans and the warm and rainy southern air mass from the Mediterranean in particular. In the whole province, the coldish, rainy (northeaster) air of the Black Sea and the warm (southwester) air of the Mediterranean Sea follow each other. There are no major temperature differences between summer and winter and the day time and the night time.
Istanbul has a projection area of 5,196 km² in Marmara Region of Turkey (5461 km² real area). Istanbul that neighbors Kocaeli to the east, Tekirdağ and Kırklareli to the west is surrounded by the Black Sea in the north and the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn in the south.
The major part of modern day Istanbul lies on the European side and the other part lies on the Asian side.
Istanbul is at an important crossroads between the land and seas. One side of the city lies in the Anatolian and Balkan Peninsula, the other side lies between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea.
City with Seven Hills
Istanbul is a plateau with its general appearance. It is fragmented by high plains are rivers. Hills of Istanbul also known as “City with Seen Hills” due to such geographical structure are as follows,
1-Topkapı Palace Hill: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are located here
2- Çemberlitaş Hill: Nuruosmaniye Mosque is located here
3- Beyazıt Hill: Istanbul University, Beyazıt Mosque and Süleymaniye are located here,
4- Fatih Hill: Fatih Mosque is located here,
5- Yavuz Selim Hill: Sultan Selim Mosque and social complex of this mosque are located
6- Edirnekapı Hill: Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is located here,
7- Kocamustafapaşa Hill / Cerrahpaşa Hill: These are the hills in the region where Topkapı, Aksaray, Yedikule and Cerrahpaşa are located.
The closest distance between both shores (Anatolian Fortress - Rumelian Fortress) is 760 m.
The length of the coast is 32.2 km between Ahırkapı Lighthouse and Kavak Cape on the Asian side, and length of the European coat is 46 km between Rumeli Lighthouse and Ahırkapı Lighthouse (including the Golden Horn).
Islands of Istanbul
Büyükada, Heybeli, Burgaz, Kınalı and Sedef Islands are the inhabited ones among the 9 islands connected to İstanbul in the Sea of Marmara. All of these islands have a surface area of 16 km², and the longest island is Büyükada with 5200 meters and Heybeliada is the widest one with 2 thousand meters. Approximately 542 hectares of the islands are occupied by buildings, whereas the remaining parts are mostly forests, macquis and rocks;