Istanbul, the World Capital…

The site of Istanbul was ruled first by Mycenae (1400 BC), then Frigians and then Chalcedons who were a Greek people that settled in Kadikoy.
The people of Megara that had lived in this area since 800 BC established the first colonial city settlement under the leader, the Byzantine Empire in Saraybumu. The people of Megara who were ruled by various tribes were included in the Byzantine Empire in 64 BC with the name Byzantion. The Empire, Septimius Severus, started the building of the Coliseum which was going to be a characteristic of the city later on in 189 BC in the city which he previously had turned into a wreck. However, he could not complete this construction. The Hippodrome, At Meydani (the Horse Arena) as named by the Ottoman people, was thus established. Empire Constantine completed the construction of the Hippodrome as he almost recreated the city in the middle of the 4 century AC. Although the city was officially named as the “New Rome” in this period, the name Constantinople was widely used.
The first city walls surrounded the district of Eminonu and they took their final shape when they expanded to the west as a result of the expansion of the city during the rulership of Empire Theodosius in the 5th century. While the palace of the empire and government offices took place around the

1- Mosaic that describes the foundation of İstanbul  2- A copy of Buondelmonti’s map showing the city as it was in 1422  3- Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II who conguered İstanbul in 11453

ranked officials governing the state settled in districts around the palace. Military garrisons were located at the western side of the city and the area that starts from Sarayburnu in the Golden Horn and stretches to Unkapanı was established as the port area. “Forums” which were bazaars that stretched from the government area to inside the city and the road names as “Messe” were also established during this period. The Ottoman people maintained this tradition and named this road as Divanyolu (the Council Road). Constantinus II opened Hagia Sophia, a work of art and an inheritance of the world, in the year 360. This building was destroyed during an uprising which broke out in the year 404. Thedosius II ordered the reconstruction of Hagia Sophia and opened it in the year 415. However, it was destroyed again during the Nika uprising in 532. It was reconstructed upon the order of Empire Justinianus in 537 for the third and last time. It was finally turned into a museum in 1934. Istanbul was heavily destroyed by the Latin invasion of 1204 during the crusades and some works were smuggled. Istanbul which was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453 sustained its characteristic of being the most densely populated metropolitan city through the Middle Age. Istanbul had been considered to be a world capital since 4 BC to the end of the 18th century.

1- Süleymaniye Mosque is one of the parts of the silhouette of İstanbul which took on an Islamic character after the conquest.

2- The Empire lifestyle during the Byzantine and Ottoman eras has been reflected to ceremonies on the Sultanahmet square with all details.

1-Viev of the hippodrome and its surroundings near the end of 16th ceury. (According to O. Panvinio, De ludis circensibus, Venice, 1600) 2- Kızkulesi (The maiden’s tower)


The Maiden’s Tower whose history dates back to the 4th century BC constitutes an important part of the silhouette of Istanbul. When it became necessary to lighten the small rock at the entrance of the Bosporus, a tower and lighthouse was built here. Although it was also used for other purposes, the tower had always been used as a lighthouse. When the empire was told that his daughter was going to die as a result of snakebite, locked his daughter in this tower in fear and his daughter died after being bitten by a snake hidden in the fruit basket sent by the prince. This is the most common legend about the tower.