The Lütfi Kırdar International Congress and Exhibition Centre is located in the Harbiye neighbourhood of Şişli, directly adjacent to the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall. When opened in 1949 the centre was originally called the Istanbul Sports and Exhibition Hall and had been designed specifically as an indoor sports venue that could host the 1949 European Wrestling Championships. Wrestling is a popular sport in Turkey and, following the success of Turkish wrestlers in previous events, the city wanted to host an event themselves. After just a year and a half of construction, the centre opened on June 3, 1949. Since then the centre has hosted many other sporting events and then, in 1996 it was transformed into a more general convention centre. Additions were made to the original buildings to keep up with the demand of the convention market in Istanbul, and the Lütfi Kırdar International Congress and Exhibition Centre is now the main building in a large complex of other buildings.