Istanbul is always known for its history, outstandingly; the city is also the capital of various sports. All branches of sports from soccer to swimming are a huge part of Istanbul’s culture. Let’s explore…
Since Constantine’s gladiators, Istanbul has always been a city of sports and fandom. Without a shadow of a doubt, most important branch of sports in Istanbul is soccer. The city has 3 big soccer clubs, all of which are older than a hundred years, and they have very devoted fans. Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray all have impressive stadiums and millions of fans from all around Türkiye and derbies between these teams are very important culturally. The city also hosted some of the most unforgettable games of Champions League and Super Cup. In addition, every year, Istanbul hosts one or more European or global sports organization such as Final Four, World Cup or Formula 1 Championship. In addition, two very special sports events are held in Istanbul every year: Cross-Continental Swimming Race and the Istanbul (Eurasia) Marathon. This city lives and breathes with different types of sports and every single Istanbulite is passionate about at least one of them.
The Bosphorus Cross-Continental Race is an environmentally respectful “matchless experience” which allows thousands of swimmers from all around the world to meet in Istanbul every year. The race starts in Kanlıca neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul and ends at Kuruçeşme on the European side, covering a distance of 6.5 kilometers (4 miles).
The Istanbul Marathon (formerly Eurasia Marathon) is an international athletics event organized in Istanbul every year since 1979. It is the only course in the world where the marathon includes two continents, Asia and Europe, in one race. The marathon starts on the Asian side of the city, shortly before the first Bosphorus Bridge, crosses the bridge giving an outstanding view of the Bosphorus and Istanbul, passes many amazing views of historic sites including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, and ends in Beşiktaş district in the European part. Every year, more than 100,000 Istanbul residents and tourists attend the race and it is listed as Europe’s 17th best marathon.
The 2023 Champions League fi- nal will be played at the Istanbul. It will be the second-time Istanbul hosts the European club football’s most important game. In 2005, the Turkish metropolis hosted one of the most iconic and epic finals in history between Milan and Liverpool. The “final identity,” as the UEFA called it, features famous Istanbul landmarks, including the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge, previously the Bosporus Bridge, the Galata Tower and the Valens Aqueduct. The 2023 identity is based on an abstract depiction of the city at sunset and is inspired “by the rich colors of the Istanbul sky and the vivid lights of this bustling city.”