The city of Istanbul, in 5000 712 square kilometers, is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in Europe. Capital of two empires, is also one of four cities in the world and undoubtedly the most spectacular that sits on two continents: Europe and Asia, the limit imposed by the Bosphorus Strait, the only trade route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea Black, through the Sea of Marmara.
Istanbul has an enviable and strategic geographical location, as inserted in the famous Silk Road and the main railway networks in Europe and the Middle East, besides having the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn (sea language that penetrates the city and has become an important means of transportation, commerce, navigation and tourism). Although no longer the capital of the country (which happened to Ankara with the establishment of the Republic in 1923), Istanbul is the main protagonist of the life and spirit of Turkey.
With a population of over 12 million people, according to official figures popularly believe much lower than the actual population-, Istanbul is one of the largest conurbations in Europe and the world in general. Its population is mostly Muslim, although there are Christian and Jewish minorities and functions as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church.
For its contrasts and character Compelling Intercontinental, Istanbul is one of the world’s most fascinating cities: ancient and modern, European and Asian, demure and liberal, a city of mystery and magic, incredible history and rich culture, a city in which have inspired countless works of art and one of the world’s top tourist destinations, recommended top ten places to visit in this 2013, the New York Times.
Istanbul is itself the administrative capital of the Istanbul province. In 1985 its historic center was selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is considered a “Global City” and in 2010 was declared European Capital of Culture. It is one of the strongest candidates to host the 2020 Olympics.
Fırst settlements and foundatıon of Byzantıum
The first human footprints in the area now occupied Istanbul were found in the Asian side and we go back to the Neolithic Period. In 680 BC, also in the region of Anatolia, founded the city of Chalcedon, by the inhabitants of Megara fleeing persecution Doric. But it was not until 20 years after beginning the true story of Istanbul, when colonists created megareños Byzantium, across the Bosphorus.
The Golden Horn was the acropolis area of the first Thracian, who subsequently experienced a period of Persian domination until it was conquered by the Greeks and was part of the League and the Second Athenian Empire, to gain independence and then be disputed by the Pescenio usurper Niger and Septimius Severus, who after winning it and destroy it signed an agreement for the protection and reconstruction and annexing it to the Roman Empire ended.
Constantınople and the Byzantıne Empıre
With the coming to power of Constantine, the former Byzantium reached great splendor, becoming a new Christian city known initially as Nea Roma and later as Constantinople (in honor of the Emperor), a center of Greek culture and Christianity. Thus, on 11 May 330, Constantinople was proclaimed the capital of the Byzantine Empire or Eastern Roman Empire.
Walls and many churches began to be built then, including Haghia Sophia (St. Sophia), which for a thousand years was the largest cathedral in the world. Also renewed and expanded the Hippodrome, which became the center of the civic and social life of the city. Towards the end of the Byzantine era, Constantinople was the largest and most prosperous city in Europe and sometimes became the world’s largest.
Years later, after the first conflicts between Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, Constantinople becomes the seat of the Orthodox Church,-until today. In 1096 receives the First Crusade, without affecting it, but already after the fourth, the city is invaded and ransacked. It then soon fall again into the hands of the Greeks, in what became known as the Latin Empire, created by Catholic crusaders to replace the Byzantine and quite ephemeral existence. While soon replaced the Byzantine Empire, the city in general, their defenses, their churches, their sites were considerably weakened and its population diminished.
The Ottoman Empıre
Taking advantage of a weakening outlook, Sultan Mehmed II, the Conqueror, after a siege of eight weeks, finally took Constantinople on May 29, 1453 and declared it the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. Consequently, from Hagia Sophia, a magnet is called to proclaim the Islamic creed and the former Byzantine cathedral went on to become imperial mosque.
Thereafter, in Constantinople began to build beautiful mosques, palaces and madrazadas, including Ottoman and Islamic buildings, although towards the nineteenth century is a trend towards architectural European styles such as Baroque and Rococo.
In 1919, after the end of World War I, when the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Entente Allies as victors occupied the city areas of influences and interests, sparking a war of independence that would defeat the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Among the first measures, abolished the sultanate and the caliphate and Ankara became the capital of the new country.
But nevertheless, today Istanbul is Turkey’s most important city and its source of splendor cultural, industrial and commercial. In recent years, and driven among other factors by the growing economic development of Turkey and its new role as an emerging power in the region, as well as its claims to join the European Union, Istanbul has become quite a modern Megapolis .