Short history of Is­tan­bul

Timeless Travels Magazine - - A WEEKEND IN... ISTANBUL -

The foun­da­tion of Is­tan­bul is gen­er­ally agreed to date to 677 BCE by a Greek colonist named Byzas from Athens. This colony be­came known as Byzan­tion, and grew to be one of the most suc­cess­ful city states in the Greek world.

Fol­low­ing sub­ju­ga­tion by var­i­ous em­pires (Ly­dian, Per­sian, Athe­nian and Macedonian), it be­came part of the Ro­man em­pire in 64 BCE. In 324 CE, Con­stan­tine the Great be­come sole ruler of the Ro­man Em­pire, and he moved the cap­i­tal from Rome to Byzan­tium, and his new city be­came known as Con­stantino­ple. Theo­do­sius I, a suc­ces­sor of Con­stan­tine, di­vided the em­pire be­tween his two sons, and when the Western Em­pire fell to bar­bar­ian armies in the 5th cen­tury, the Greek speak­ing, Eastern Em­pire, (known as the Byzan­tine Em­pire) sur­vived. Jus­tinian in the 6th cen­tury de­vel­oped Con­stantino­ple into a thriv­ing city whilst also ex­pand­ing the em­pire. Dur­ing the mid­dle ages, the city was a cen­tre of learn­ing, art and cul­ture and law when most of Europe was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a dark age.

Con­stantino­ple fell to Sultan Mehmet II on the 29th May 1453, af­ter a 54-day siege and his first task was to re­build a city that had been de­stroyed by war. The Grand Bazaar and Top­kapi Palace were built and peo­ple en­cour­aged to move to the city from all over the em­pire, form­ing a truly cos­mopoli­tan so­ci­ety. Mehmet and his suc­ces­sors went on to ex­pand the Ot­toman em­pire into Europe and the Mid­dle East.

In 1923 the cap­i­tal of Tur­key was moved to Ankara, and a boom­ing econ­omy led to an en­er­gised city once more.

The Bas­cil­ica Cis­tern which could hold 100 mil­lion litres of wa­ter

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