"Istanbul - "THE" City For History Buffs!" Istanbul Local Custom Tip by H-TownJourneyman
Istanbul Local Customs: 345 reviews and 456 photos
There are many cities around the world that have long & rich histories. When we think of these historic cities, the first places that come to mind are of course Rome and Athens. Many cities in China, India, even Africa have histories that date back many millennia. But I challenge anyone to find a city in the world that has a history that not only dates back as far, but also has as diverse a history that Istanbul has had! It is quite amazing to think that the modern city Istanbul, one of the world's largest with well over 10 million people, just 800 years ago was a city that had a completely different culture, different language, and a different people, yet was, as it is now, one of the world's largest cities!
It was back in the 7th century B.C. when this area along the Bosphorus was first colonized by the Greeks, and named Byzantium after the legendary king Byzas. Centuries later in AD 330, the Emperor Constantine made the city the new capital of the Roman empire. The city thrived under the Romans, and later the Byzantines, becoming a metropolis of 1 million people at it's height. Then, after its conquest by Mehmet II and the Turks in 1453, it still remained a capital city, becoming the center of the Ottoman empire for over 500 years.
For myself, an avid history buff, this incredibly varied past intrigues me to no end. I had studied much about the history of Istanbul before my first trip here, but there is absolutely no comparison in reading information about the Byzantines in a book for instance, and standing in in the middle of Sultanahmet square with Ayasofya right in front of you! If it is history you crave, and an astonishing history at that, Istanbul is where you need to visit!
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