Istanbul was historically known as a cultural hub, but its cultural scene stagnated after the Turkish Republic shifted its focus toward Ankara.Although much of Turkey's cultural scene had its roots in Istanbul, it was not until the 1980s and 1990s that Istanbul reemerged globally as a city whose cultural significance is not solely based on its past glory.
Istanbul has numerous shopping centers, from the historic to the modern. The Grand Bazaar, in operation since 1461, is among the world's oldest and largest covered markets. Mahmutpasha Bazaar is an open-air market extending between the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar, which has been Istanbul's major spice market since 1660.Galleria Ataköy ushered in the age of modern shopping malls in Turkey when it opened in 1987. Since then, malls have become major shopping centers outside the historic peninsula.
Istanbul is primarily known for its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, but its buildings reflect the various peoples and empires that have previously ruled the city. Examples of Genoese and Roman architecture remain visible in Istanbul alongside their Ottoman counterparts. While nothing of the architecture of the classical Greek period has survived, Roman architecture has proved to be more durable. Early Byzantine architecture followed the classical Roman model of domes and arches, but improved upon these elements, as in the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus. The oldest surviving Byzantine church in Istanbul—albeit in ruins—is the Monastery of Stoudios(later converted into the Imrahor Mosque), which was built in 454.
Human habitation in Anatolia dates back to the Paleolithic. Eastern Anatolia contains the oldest monumental structures in the world. For example, the monumental structures at Göbekli Tepe were built by hunters and gatherers a thousand years before the development of agriculture. Eastern Anatolia, alongside Mesopotamia and the Levant, is a heart region for the Neolithic Revolution, one of the earliest areas in which humans domesticated plants and animals. Neolithic sites such as Çatalhöyük, Çayönü, Nevalı Çori and Hacilar represent the world's oldest known agricultural towns.
Ancient Anatolia is subdivided by modern scholars into regions named after the Indo-European (and largely Hittite, Luwian or Greek speaking) peoples that occupied them, such as Lydia, Lycia, Caria, Mysia, Bithynia, Phrygia, Galatia, Lycaonia, Pisidia, Paphlagonia, Cilicia, and Cappadocia.
Following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, various Turkish clans under the leadership of the Seljuks began settling in Anatolia . With the rise of Turkish power in Anatolia, Cappadocia slowly became a tributary to the Turkish states that were established to the east and to the west; some of the population converted to Islam but the main Greek-Byzantine population moved to the Ionian coast.
Cappadocia remained part of the Ottoman Empire for the centuries to come, and remains now part of the modern state ofTurkey. A fundamental change occurred in between when a new urban center, Nevşehir, was founded in the early 18th century by a grand vizier who was a native of the locality ( Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha ), to serve as regional capital, a role the city continues to assume to this day.