Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, was the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The Bosphorus straits divides the city into a part that sits on the European continent, and a larger part on the continent of Asia. The militarily and economically strategic position of the city, on the western portion of the Silk Road, and on the shipping route between the Aegean and Black Seas, has kept it cosmopolitan and prosperous since its foundation 660 BCE, when it was called Byzantium. In 330 it became Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire, named for Emperor Constantine the Great. The Ottomans conquered the city in 1453/857 AH and renamed the city Istanbul. It served as their capital until Ankara became the capital of the modern nation of Turkey.
The airport terminal is intended to be used by around 3.5 million domestic travellers a year, although it is presently handling international traffic pending the completion of the main terminal. In view of its relatively low capacity, it was designed without docking bridges: the idea was to create a permeable building, with interflowing, visually linked spaces from the point of arrival to the departure gates. This was achieved through a large-span structural system (each of the three halls spans 68 metres) and the use of large glass skins and transparent partitions. Design was finished in 8 months (including tendering), construction in 13 months.