Here are the top 5 most beautiful photos of Istanbul from space.

1. Istanbul from the International Space Station, 2017

Istanbul from space, December 10, 2017
Istanbul from space, December 10, 2017

In the photo above, taken by the NASA astronaut Randy “Komrade” Bresnik, the commander of the Expedition 53 (the 53rd expedition to the International Space Station), we see Istanbul, the only intercontinental city on Earth and the biggest city of Turkey, the Black Sea, the Bosphorus, the Marmara Sea, and the Prince Islands.

South is up, so the sea on top is the Marmara sea and the city at the bottom of the photo is the Black Sea.

2. Istanbul split by the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait, 2021

Istanbul from Space - April 21, 2021
Istanbul from Space, April 21, 2021. Photo: NASA

In this photo, taken from the International Space Station (ISS) on April 21, 2021, Istanbul is split by the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait which links the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. The International Space Station was orbiting 264 miles (425 km) above Turkey just southwest of its capital city, Ankara, at the time this photograph was taken.

3. Bridging the Bosphorus, 2017

Istanbul from space, April 13, 2017
Istanbul from space, April 13, 2017. Photo: NASA

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) focused a camera on the Bosphorus (a few ships are visible in the waterway) and took this beautiful photo of Istanbul from space.

Forested parks (lower left) contrast with the red roof tiles of the cityscape, one of the most striking features of Istanbul when viewed from space. Three bridges connect the opposite shores, two of which appear in the image-the Bosphorus Bridge (right) and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, which is named for Mehmed the Conqueror. The third bridge can’t be seen in this photo, it’s further north (north is left in this photo).

The Bosphorus Bridge was completed on October 30, 1973. It is 1,074 meters (3,524 feet) long. The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge was completed on July 3, 1988. It is 1,090 meters (3,580 feet) long.

Highways lace the city, connecting clusters of high-rise buildings that stand out from the tiled roofs and cast more shadow than shorter buildings. Taksim Square is the center of modern Istanbul. Inonu football stadium also can be seen at the lower-right of the photo.

4. Istanbul from space, Spring/Summer 1996

Istanbul from space, Spring/Summer 1996
Istanbul from space, Spring/Summer 1996. I was still a university student, back then. Photo: NASA

Back in 1996, there were fewer buildings and more forests in Istanbul. You can see the Marmara sea, the Princes’ Islands, the Bosphorus, the Belgrade Forest (it is at the middle-top of the photo), and the Black sea. The Asian side is at the right. The old Airport, Yeşilköy (Atatürk) Airport is at the middle-left of the photo.

5. Istanbul from space, 2019

Istanbul from space, 2019
Istanbul from space, 2019

In the photo above, which was taken in 2019, w can see the third bridge (the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge) at the north edge of the Bosphorus. Opened on August 26, 2016, the bridge is 2,164 meters (7,100 feet) long.

At 322 meters (1,056 feet), the bridge is one of the tallest bridges in the world. After the Millau Viaduct (336.4 meters or 1,104 feet) in France and the Pingtang Bridge (332 meters or 1,089 ft) in China, it is the third-tallest bridge in the world of any type (as of 2021). The bridge is also one of the world’s widest suspension bridges, at 58.4 meters (192 feet) wide.

At the upper-left corner of the photo, we can also see the new airport of Istanbul. It was opened on April 26, 2019. It is now the main international airport serving Istanbul.

Özgür Nevres

Published by Özgür Nevres

I am a software developer, a former road racing cyclist, and a science enthusiast. Also an animal lover! I write about the city of Istanbul on this website. I live in Istanbul since 1992.

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