Transcontinental Cities

A transcontinental city is a city that exists on land over more than one continent. There are more than a few transcontinental cities in the world. Learn about cities that straddle continents.

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Istanbul is a transcontinental city that was created naturally. The Bosphorus strait is considered the boundary between Europe and Asia, and Istanbul straddles both sides of it.

Five of the most well-known transcontinental cities are Istanbul, Atyrau, Orenburg, Magnitogorsk, and Suez. Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and has roughly 65% of its citizens residing on the European side, while the remainder live on the geographically Asian side of the strait.

Istanbul straddles both sides of the 20-mile long Bosporus Strait connecting the Mediterranean and Sea of Marmara (south) to the Black Sea (north). Source: NASA

Istanbul straddles both sides of the 20-mile long Bosporus Strait connecting the Mediterranean and Sea of Marmara (south) to the Black Sea (north). Source: NASA

Atyrau is a Kazakhstani city that lies on the Ural River. Not much of this city exists on the European side, but enough people live in this small portion of land for Atyrau to be considered a transcontinental city.

Orenburg is a city in Russia that also rests on the banks of the Ural River. This city is located mostly in Europe but also has a significant portion of the city located across the Ural River in Asia. Russia is home to two transcontinental cities; Magnitogorsk joins Orenburg as the second transcontinental Russian city to rest on the Ural River.

Suez is another city considered by some to be transcontinental. Suez is most commonly associated with the man-made Suez Canal which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. The border between Africa and Asia in this region is considered to be the Isthmus of Suez and the Suez Canal in Egypt. The Governorate of Suez is located mostly in Africa, but some people consider its furthest reaches to be part of Asia as well.

 

Map showing the location of Suez. Map: Eric Gaba, MediaWiki Commons.

Map showing the location of Suez. Map: Eric Gaba, MediaWiki Commons.

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