Istanbul East in West, West in East
If I wanted to give this information before the Yenikapı Excavations, I would give the following history of Istanbul: “Archeological evidence indicates that in 1000BC there was a small fishing village on the shores of the Golden Horn. The Megarians, colonists from Greece, then founded the first settlement of historic significance in 700 BC. They gave the name of their king”Byzas” to this city and called it “Byzantium”. They understood the strategic location of the Golden Horn, a natural harbor, and of the Bosphorus, which connects to the Marmara Sea. Later they enlarged the city and built walls to protect it.”
A new era
Today, this information is no longer valid Archaeological excavations at Yenikapı, one of the largest archeoogical investments in Europe, opened a new era in Istanbul historiography. Accounts we beleived for many years have now been refuted. With the discovery and exhumation in this are of skeletons dating back 8000 years, we now date Istanbul back to the late Neolithic Age.
During the Yenikapı excavations, 30 shipwrecks were unearthed from the ancient Theodosius Harbour. These dicoveries changed the timeline of nautical archeology and also enlightened us about the ancient trade, maritime lines and seamenship. Also the first Byzantine Galleon was excavated on the site. This foundings were so important that according to the many Archeologists, It should be rewritten the book of Byzantine shipbuilding, and the role of maritime trade in the history of Constantinople.
Istanbul has been inhabited since the Stone Age. During the Greek Colonization, the city welcomed a particularly significant group of residents: colonists from the Greek mainland. These Greek colonists were the first ones to call the city Byzantium after the fearless leader Byzas.
Location is everything
In 13th BCE,Jason and the Argonauts, in search og the Golden Fleece, visited Istanbul. They were the first “famous guests” of the city. Later in the 5th BCE, the Persian King Darius aligned his ships one behind another in order to form a ponton bridgethat he could lead his army from the Asian shores to reach Greece.
Emperor Vespasianus (69-79 BC) conquered Byzantium and incorparated it into the Roman Empire. Byzantium fought Rome’s Battles for centuries. In 193 AD, Septimus Severus wanted to conquer Edirne, ancient Hadrianapolis. Licinius, the king of Hadrianapolis, fled to Byzantium. Upon which Septimus Severus besieged Byzantium, Conquered the city and razed it to the ground. Later he rebuilt the city and gave it the name of his son – Antonina Agusta.
In the 4th C. Constantine the Great (306-337) came to the city and decided to stay. He enlarged the city walls and declared it as the new capital of his empire calling “Nova Roma” the New Rome. In the Middle of the town Constantine built the Great Milestone, from which all distences were measured. The prosperity arrived the city. “All roads were no longer leads to Rome but Constantinople”.
In 395 AD the death of Theodosius I, led to the division of the Roman Empire among his two sons. Honorius took the western part; while his brother Arcadius was throned as the emperor of the eastern roman empire.
Under Theodosius II’s rule (408-450), the city was considerably enlarged and new protecting walls were built, some of which can still be seen even today. With emperor Justinian (527-565) period of prosperity ensured, leading to the creation of the magnificient Hagia Sophia. In 727 AD, emperor Leo III(717-740) dorbade images of christ and saints and thus began the “Iconoclastic Period
During its long history, The city suffered much from earthquakes,fires and rebellions but everytimeit was rebuilt or restored. One of the worst disasters occured in 1204 when the armies of fourth crusade sacked Constantinople. The city was burned and looted, church ornaments were melted down, and old priceless items were taken away to Europe.
Fall or Conquest
Sultan Mehmet the conqurerer, conqured Constantinople in 1453. The city had a reputation as “hard to conquer”, particularly because it boosted walls more than 20 km long.
Inland walls were 7 km long,at the sea of Marmara they streched for 8 km, and bordering the Golden Horn Walls extended over 5 km. But in 1453, despite a fierce resistance Sultan Mehmet II, marched into the city and announced it as the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
Today Istanbul, although no longer the capital, remains the historical, cultural, financial, and art capital of Turkey.
With the Bosphours Strait, Golden Horn, all of its palaces, mosques,churches,synagogues and historical monuments, Istanbul remains one of the most beautiful cities of the World. Strolling throughout this metropolis, you can easily get lost in time.
As the only city resting upon two continentes, Istanbul, today has a population of 17 million. Migration within Turkey from rural to urban areas, has had a profound impact on Istanbul. For the last 40 years the while the population of Istanbul multiplied by 7, the whole country was only multiplied twice.
Istanbul generates 46% of the national exports and imports, 40% of total imports of Turkey. The city also consumes 20% of the countries total energy.
The possesors of many positive features in terms of history and culture, Istanbul is making great strides towards becoming an international tourism destination, and a prominent center of the World Economy.