Istanbul is the most populated city of Turkey with a population of around 10.58 M (2000) living on around 5,750 km(2). In 1980, the population was only 4.7 M and then it has been more than doubled in only two decades. The population has been increasing as a result of mass immigration. An urbanization process continues and it causes serious increases in urban areas while decreasing the amount of green areas. This rapid, uncontrolled, and illegal urbanization accompanied by insufficient infrastructure has caused degradation of forest and barren lands in the metropolitan area, especially through the last two decades. The watershed basins inside the metropolitan area and the transportation network have accelerated the land-cover changes, which have negative impacts on water quality of the basins. Monitoring urban growth and land cover change will enable better management of this complex urban area by the Greater Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (GIMM). A temporal assessment of land-cover changes of Istanbul has been documented in this study. The study mainly focuses on the acquisition and analysis of Landsat TM and Landsat GeoCover LC satellite images reflecting the significant land-cover changes between the years of 1990 and 2005. Raster data were converted to vector data and used in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). A database was created for Istanbul metropolitan area to plan, manage, and utilize statistical attribute data covering population, water, forest, industry, and topographic position. Consequently an overlay analysis was carried out and land use/cover changes through years have been detected for the case study area. The capability of Landsat images in determining the alterations in the macro form of the city are also discussed.