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Sunday, 30 August 2015


Founded around 660 BC as Byzantium, the city was re-built over six years, and consecrated as Constantinople on May 11, 330.

For nearly sixteen centuries following its re-establishment as Constantinople in 330 AD, the city served as the capital of four empires: the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). The Republic of Turkey established its capital in Ankara.

Map of Constantinople (1422) by Florentine cartographer Cristoforo Buondelmonti is the oldest surviving map of the city

Pope Constantine visited Constantinople in 710-11 where he compromised with Justinian II on the Trullan canons of the Quinisext Council. Constantine was the last pope to visit Constantinople until Pope Paul VI did in 1967.

Hagia Sophia in Constantinople was the largest church in the world for about 900 years until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.

Constantinople fell to the crusaders on April 12, 1204, the Monday before Easter. The crusaders set up their own kingdom based in the city, but within ten years it had collapsed.

Constantinople had 1400 public toilets around the city when it was capital of the Ottoman Empire, at a time when the rest of Europe had none.

In 1710 Constantinople (Istanbul) lost its crown as largest city by population in the world, a position it had held for seven decades, when Beijing's population reached 770,000.

On October 13, 1923 Angora replaced Istanbul as Turkey's capital.

The name of Constantinople was changed to Istanbul on March 28, 1930. The city of Angora was changed to Ankara on the same day.

The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, was completed on October 30, 1973 connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus. The cost of the bridge was US$200 million.

Upon the bridge's opening, much was made of its being the first bridge between Europe and Asia since the pontoon bridge of Xerxes in 480 BC.

Upon its completion, the Bosphorus Bridge had the fourth-longest suspension bridge span in the world, and the longest outside the United States It remained the longest suspension bridge in Europe until the completion of the Humber Bridge in 1981, and the longest suspension bridge in Asia until the completion of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (Second Bosphorus Bridge) in 1988.

The Bosphorus Bridge after sunset. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is the oldest and largest historical bazaar in the world with over 4,000 shops covering 61 streets. With more than 91 million visitors it was listed as the world’s most-visited tourist attraction in 2014.

Istanbul is actually in two continentsAsia and Europe. Istanbul is the only major transcontinental city. Its commercial and historical center lies in Europe, while a third of its population lives in Asia.

With a population of 14.1 million, Istanbul is the fifth-largest city in the world by population within city limits.

Approximately 11.6 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2012, making the city the world's fifth-most-popular tourist destination.

The best known song about the Turkish city is “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” which was originally a hit for The Four Lads in 1953 and later revived by They Might Be Giants. Other tunes about Istanbul include: “Istanbul” by The Breeders, “She Took My Soul In Istanbul” by Marc Almond, "Istanbul" by Morrissey and “City Of Black & White” by Mat Kearney. 

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