HISTORIC CONNECTIONS TO THEIR COUNTRY
NYC and Istanbul each have great historic significance for their countries with both providing gateways for millions of immigrants. For several centuries Istanbul served as a major city through at least four empires. Istanbul was strategically located along the historic Silk Road that connected China and the Roman Empire. Of course many of America’s immigrants came through New York, especially Ellis Island.
In spite of modernization, both countries have elements within the population that hold fast to old traditions and customs. In Istanbul what is known as the tea garden is still a way of life for many Turkish people. People will take a break from their busy schedule to enjoy tea with friends and possibly a game of backgammon. In NYC several old immigrant customs are still highly regarded among the many diverse ethnic groups. A few examples include many Irish traditions during the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Asian mother’s who still spend a month in postpartum seclusion after their baby’s birth.
New York City provides an impressive list of universities for students to choose from. A few include Cornell University, Berkeley College, Columbia University, and Julliard School of Music. Istanbul University, founded in 1453, has been ranked in the top 500 universities in the world. Other Istanbul universities that are highly ranked include Istanbul Technical University and Bogazici University.
LARGEST CITY IN THEIR COUNTRY
Istanbul has a population of approximately 14 million, even larger than New York’s 8.5 million. The populations in both cities have been growing rapidly for the last several years. In spite of their large size and continued growth, neither is the capital of their respective countries.
BOTH ARE MODERN, COSMOPOLITAN CITIES
Both cities offer an eclectic mix of old world charm and a fast-paced, modern lifestyle. Istanbul has gained a reputation as a cultural magnet for the young and the hip as foodies and fashionistas flock to the city. And, of course, New York is known the world over for trendy restaurants, Broadway shows, shopping sprees, and the influx of art and culture.
TOP TOURIST DESTINATIONS
While several spots in NYC have been ranked among the top ten tourist destinations in the world, that Istanbul ranks fairly high on the list may be a surprise to many people. Time’s Square and Central Park are always popular attractions, but the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul brings in approximately 15 million visitors annually.