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In 2008 a Neolithic settlement dating from 6500 BC was discovered. The first human settlement on the Anatolian side is from the Copper Age period, with artifacts dating from 5500–3500 BC. In nearby Chalcedon, a port settlement dating back to the Phoenicians has been discovered. Greek settlers from Megara colonized Byzantion on the European side of the Bosphorus under the command of King Byzas in 667 BC. Byzantion was established on the site of an ancient port settlement named Lygos, founded by Thracian tribes between the 13th and 11th centuries BC. Only a few walls and substructures belonging to Lygos have survived to date, near the Seraglio Point where the Topkapı Palace now stands. During the period of Byzantion, the Acropolis used to stand where the Topkapı Palace stands today. After siding with Pescennius Niger against the victorious Roman emperor Septimius Severus, the city was besieged by the Romans and suffered extensive damage in 196 AD. Byzantium was rebuilt by Severus and quickly regained its previous prosperity, being temporarily renamed Augusta Antonina by the emperor. The location of Byzantium attracted Constantine I in 324. Byzantium (now renamed as Nova Roma eventually became Constantinopolis, i.e. "The City of Constantine") was officially proclaimed the new capital of the Roman Empire six years later, in 330. Following the death of Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent partition of the Roman Empire between his two sons, Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. The Byzantine Empire was distinctly Greek in culture and became the center of Greek Orthodox Christianity, while its capital was adorned with many magnificent churches, including the Hagia Sophia, once the world's largest cathedral. In 1204, the Fourth Crusade was launched to capture Jerusalem, but instead turned on Constantinople, which was sacked and desecrated. The city subsequently became the center of the Catholic Latin Empire, created by the crusaders to replace the Orthodox Byzantine Empire. The Empire of Nicaea recaptured Constantinople in 1261 under the command of Michael VIII Palaeologus. Ottoman Turks conquered selected towns and smaller cities in the region over time, enveloping Bursa in 1326, İzmit (Nicomedia) in 1337, Gelibolu (Gallipoli) in 1354, and finally Edirne (Adrianople) in 1362. This cut off Constantinople from its main supply routes, strangling it slowly. On May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmed II "the Conqueror" captured Constantinople after a 53-day siege and proclaimed that Constantinople was now the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mehmed's first duty was to rejuvenate the city economically, creating the Grand Bazaar and inviting the fleeing Orthodox and Catholic inhabitants to return. Captured prisoners were freed to settle in the city while provincial governors in Rumelia and Anatolia were ordered to send four thousand families to settle in the city, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew. The Sultan also endowed the city with various architectural monuments, including the Topkapı Palace and the Eyüp Sultan Mosque. Suleiman the Magnificent's reign of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566 was a period of great artistic and architectural achievements. The famous architect Sinan designed many mosques and other grand buildings in the city, while Ottoman arts of ceramics, calligraphy and miniature painting also flourished. When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the capital was moved from Istanbul to Ankara. In the early years of the republic, Istanbul was overlooked in favor of the new capital. However, starting from the late 1940s and early 1950s, Istanbul underwent great structural change, as new public squares (such as Taksim Square), boulevards and avenues were constructed throughout the city. Starting from the 1970s, the population of Istanbul began to rapidly increase, as people from Anatolia migrated to the city in order to find employment in the many new factories that were constructed on the outskirts of the sprawling metropolis.
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