Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul) is the largest city in Turkey, constituting the country's economic, cultural, and historical heart. With a population of 13.9 million, the city forms one of the largest urban agglomerations in Europe and is the second-largest city in the world by population within city limits. Istanbul's vast area of 5,343 square kilometers (2,063 sq mi) is coterminous with Istanbul Province, of which the city is the administrative capital. Istanbul is a transcontinental city, straddling the Bosphorus—one of the world's busiest waterways—in northwestern Turkey, between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies in Europe, while a third of its population lives in Asia.
Founded on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BC as Byzantium, the city now known as Istanbul developed to become one of the most significant cities in history. For nearly sixteen centuries following its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 AD, it served as the capital of four empires: the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the last caliphate. Although the Republic of Turkey established its capital in Ankara, palaces and imperial mosques still line Istanbul's hills as visible reminders of the city's previous central role.
Istanbul's strategic position along the historic Silk Road, rail networks to Europe and the Middle East, and the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have helped foster an eclectic populace, although less so since the establishment of the Republic in 1923. Overlooked for the new capital during the interwar period, the city has since regained much of its prominence. The population of the city has increased tenfold since the 1950s, as migrants from across Anatolia have flocked to the metropolis and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. Arts festivals were established at the end of the 20th century, while infrastructure improvements have produced a complex transportation network.
Approximately 11.6 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2012, two years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world's fifth-most-popular tourist destination. The city's biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but its cultural and entertainment hub can be found across the city's natural harbor, the Golden Horn, in the Beyoğlu district. Considered a global city, Istanbul is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies in the world. It hosts the headquarters of many Turkish companies and media outlets and accounts for more than a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. Hoping to capitalize on its revitalization and rapid expansion, Istanbul bid for the Summer Olympics five times in twenty years.
Khujand (Tajik: Хуҷанд, Uzbek: Хўжанд, Xoʻjand; Russian: Худжанд Khudzhand), formerly Khodjend or Khodzhent until 1936 and Leninabad (Leninobod, Ленинобод) until 1991, is the second-largest city of Tajikistan. It is situated on the Syr Darya River at the mouth of the Fergana Valley. The population of the city is 149,000 (2000 census), down from 160,000 in 1989. It is also the capital of the northernmost province of Tajikistan, now called Sughd.
Baku (Azerbaijani: Bakı, IPA: [bɑˈcɯ]) is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. Baku is located 28 meters below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world. Baku is also the largest city in the world located below sea level. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal parts: the downtown area and the old Inner City (21.5 ha). At the beginning of 2009, Baku's urban population was estimated at just over two million people. Officially, about 25 percent of all inhabitants of the country live in Baku's metropolitan area.
Baku is divided into eleven administrative districts (raions) and 48 townships. Among these are the townships on islands in the Baku Bay and the town of Oil Rocks built on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 60 km (37 mi) away from Baku. The Inner City of Baku along with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. According to the Lonely Planet's ranking, Baku is also among the world's top ten destinations for urban nightlife.
The city is the scientific, cultural and industrial center of Azerbaijan. Many sizeable Azerbaijani institutions have their headquarters there, including SOCAR, one of the world's top 100 companies and others. The Baku International Sea Trade Port, sheltered by the islands of the Baku Archipelago to the east and the Absheron Peninsula to the north, is capable of handling two million tons of general and dry bulk cargoes per year. Baku hosted the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 and will host the 2015 European Games.
Erzurum (Armenian: Կարին) is a city in eastern Turkey. It is the largest city in and the eponymous capital of Erzurum Province. The city is situated 1757 meters (5766 feet) above sea level. Erzurum had a population of 361,235 in the 2000 census, increasing to 367,250 by 2010.
Erzurum, known as "The Rock" in NATO code, served as NATO's southeastern-most air force post during the Cold War. The city uses the double-headed Anatolian Seljuk Eagle as its coat-of-arms, a motif based on the double-headed Byzantine Eagle that was a common symbol throughout Anatolia and the Balkans in the medieval period.
Erzurum has some of the finest winter sports facilities in Turkey and hosted the 2011 Winter Universiade
The Mogilev Region, also Mahilyow Voblasts (Province) or Mogilyov Oblast , is a province of Belarus with its administrative center being Mogilyov (Mahilyow).
The Mahilyow Voblast covers a total area of 29,100 km2 (11,200 sq mi), about 14% of the national total. The voblast's greatest extent from north to south is 150 km (93 mi), from east to west - 300 km (190 mi), while the highest point is 239 metres (784 ft) above sea level and the lowest at 126 m (413 ft) above sea level.
Many rivers flow through the Mahilyow Voblast including the Dnieper (Dniapro), Berezina, Sozh, Druts, Pronya and Ptsich. The voblast' also has small lakes, the largest being the Zaozerye Lake with a surface area of 0.58 km2 (0.22 sq mi). The Chihirin Reservoir on the Druts River has an area of 21.1 km2 (8.1 sq mi).With a total population of 1,088,100 (2011), 353,600 inhabitants live in rural areas and 855,000 live in cities or towns. There are 639,300 women and 567,300 men in the region, of which 288,100 are under 18 while 267,300 are elderly people.
Of the major nationalities living in the Mahilyow Voblast, 1,044,000 inhabitants are Belarusians, 132,000 are Russians, 3,500 are Jewish, 2,800 are Poles, 2,110 are Ukrainians, 1,700 are Tatars, 1,300 are Lithuanians, 1,100 are Armenians, and 1,070 are Romani.
Kazan (Russian: Каза́нь, IPA: [kɐˈzanʲ]; Tatar Cyrillic: Казан, Latin: Qazan) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,535, it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia.
The Kazan Kremlin is a World Heritage Site. In 2005, the Medal "In Commemoration of the 1000th Anniversary of Kazan" was established by Russia to denote this landmark event. The multi-ethnic city is honored by UNESCO and famous for Muslims and Christians living side-by-side in peace.
In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the right to brand itself as the "Third Capital" of Russia. In 2009 it was chosen as the "Sports capital of Russia" and it still is referred to as such. The city hosted the 2013 Summer Universiade and will host the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, and 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Gaza (English pronunciation: //)(Arabic: غزة Ġazzah, also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of 515,556, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories. Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC, Gaza has been dominated by several different peoples and empires throughout its history. The Philistines made it a part of their pentapolis after the Ancient Egyptians had ruled it for nearly 350 years.