ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

History of Istanbul, Byzantium, Constantinople

Updated on July 26, 2011

Istanbul, Constantinople, Byzantium, over two and a half thousand years this city has had three names; each one as famous as the other. Heart of the myth of Istanbul was its invincibility.

It is fantastically situated on the Bosporus the narrow stretch of water that separates Europe from Asia. For a thousand years as Constantinople capitol of the Christian Byzantine Empire this city withstood an amazing 24 sieges.

Besides the Bosporus the other great defense was the city’s land walls and at their time they were the best fortifications anywhere in the world that no one could get through. But then in 1453 the Byzantines faced D-day. The Turks came along and using giant cannons blasted their way in.

The Byzantine empire disappeared from the map. The Turkish sultan Mehmet now called the conqueror rode in through the gate and Constantinople became Istanbul the capitol of the Islamic Ottoman empire

Ever since the Greeks first settled here in 500 BC the area now called Sultan Ahmet has been the heart of this city. The top three attractions in the city are in this small area and all walking distance from one another and together they span the whole of the city’s history as an imperial capitol.

Hagias Sophia – the church of holy wisdom – was built in the 6gth century by the emperor Justinian and when he first saw it, he was deeply impressed. When the Turks captured Constantinople, Mehmet the conqueror made a B line for this place.

He entered the city on Thursday and by Friday the Hagias Sophia was open for business as a Mosque. That’s what it remained through to the 1930s when it became a Museum. Besides praying the other thing on top of Mehmet’s agenda was a place to lay his affairs. He ordered a palace; they took him at his word.

The Top Kapi isn’t just a palace it’s a city within a city. For four hundred years, this was mission control, the legislative and executive hub of the biggest empire of its time. Four thousand people lived and worked here all at the beckon call of the Sultan. Its name was Dar-al-Satit - The house of Felicitations – a sex, drugs, Rock and Roll getaway for royalty.

The Blue Mosque, commissioned by Sultan Ahmet who gave this area its name has ever since been the center of controversy. Is it a master piece or just your run of the mill mosque but one thing is for certain it’s not very blue for sure. The name comes from the interior which is a bathroom fitters nightmare. Twenty one thousand and forty three Isnic tiles cover the walls and there are ninety nine different shades of blue.

Historically Turkey has always been a fairly Macho society – men in the cafes and women behind closed doors. Nothing summed up this attitude like the sultan’s Harem. Three hundred rooms of unimaginable delight. It was run by the Sultan’s mother – talk about having a problem mother in law – but here the Eunuchs, slaves, wives and concubines all rubbed shoulders. When this place was finally closed down in the late 19th century eight hundred people were pushed out on to the street.

Now one public place that the men and the women could share though not at the same time, is the great Turkish institution called Hammam. The Istanbul’s most famous Hammam has been soaping up since the 16th century and still has tones of bubbles left. The Turks must have seemed a mad lot to westerners back then, Elizabeth the first famously bathed once a month and people thought she was obsessive.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      heena nishat 

      6 years ago

      i wish to visit istanbul....

    • writeido profile imageAUTHOR

      Write Faisal 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks Les Trois Chenes. There really isn't any other city in the world with such marvelous past, aspiring present and promising future. Not too many cities in the world can boast such architecture from way back in the past to recent past to present and still room for plans in the future. Istanbul is any traveler's goldmine of imagination.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 

      7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Istanbul is a wonderful city. My husband is from there and, interestingly, his take on the male/female split is that the women kick the men out of the house so that they can entertain all their women friends in there. I suppose there's always two sides to every coin. Many thanks for the potted history.

    • writeido profile imageAUTHOR

      Write Faisal 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks very much Nikki, appreciate your support. I have another one for Istanbul coming up. Keep yourself posted :).

    • nikkiraeink profile image

      nikkiraeink 

      7 years ago from So. Cal.

      I want more. This hub is not only well written, it is engaging. Voted up.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)