History of Best City in the World, Istanbul

Istanbul has been a unique city throughout the history with its seven hills, bosphorus and its natural harbour, Golden Horn. It has been the center of interest of other civilizations all the time in its era. The history of Istanbul is also extremely rich as the glory of the city.


Istanbul has already an impressive story from its establishment legends: In Greece, Byzas takes his way from Megara to establish a new city. He consults on the soothsayer of Delphi. The soothsayer says he will establish the new city against the “City of Blinds”. While Byzas were moving about with a confused mind, by looking today’s Sarayburnu to the past’s Khalkedon, he thought: “Why would the blind set their city to that drouthy place instead of this gorgeous place?”. And he remembers words of the soothsayer of Delphi. He has been found where he will set Istanbul.

The Name of Istanbul

On the contrary to common belief, the name Istanbul wasn’t call by Ottomans. It dates back to older times than that. It was mentioned as a human name in a written work called Fütuh’üş-Şam in 9th century. Son of the Greek King Timaoş,Istanbul, works on the construction of the city during his 4-year reign. But Constantine who takes the place of him completes the city and names it. A 10th century book Tenbih (Mesudi) mentiones of it as “Istinbolin”. There are a lot of different information about the name Istanbul which some of them are in conflict with each other. Besides, Istanbul was called as many names as Byzantion,Konstantinopolis,Konstantinniye,Asitane,Darülhilafe,Dersaadet for thousand of years.

Prehistoric and Byzantion Period

History of Istanbul dates back to about three hundred thousand years. Near Küçükçekmece River, Neolithic and Chalcolithic people are thought to be lived. Near Dudullu some gadgets are encountered which belong to the Old Palaeolithic Era and also around Ağaçlı, Middle Palaeolithic Era and Upper Palaeolithic Era. Some ruins which belong to neolithic era(b.c.6500),bronze age(b.c.5500-3500),phoenicians are found during the excavation work of Marmaray sub-sea tunnel in 2008, in Fikirtepe (Anatolian side) and Kadıköy,respectively.Byzantion is established in b.c.667 who is ruled by the King Byzas as told the legend story of it above. During the Roman Empire commands the city, Septimius Severus gave his son’s name Augusta Antonina to the city for a while.

Istanbul was announced as the capital city of the Roman Empire during the emperor 1st Constantine.Then, the name was changed into Nova Roma,which was caught on. In 337, with the death of Emperor 1st Constantine, the new name was “Konstantinopolis”.

Byzantion Empire Period (324-1453)

İstanbul was the control center of the east part of Rome in this time period. Town was  widened and developed in all aspects in this time. Apart from a huge hippodrome (Sultanahmet Square) which has 100.000 people capacity, many harbours and water plants were built,too. Konstantin,who set up Ayasofya (the biggest cathedral in the world) in 360, changed the religion of Roman Empire into  Christianism. It was the first disengagement with the west people who believe in pagan religion.


Byzantian Empire begins with the death of 1st Theodosius. When the Western Rome collapses in 476, the people migrate from there to Istanbul. Thus, Istanbul becomes the capital city of Byzantian Empire.

Half of the population dies because of plague epidemic, so the emperor 1st Justinian sets the city from scratch. Istanbul,which has been attacked so many times,was plundered in 1204 by 4th crusades. Latin era finishes in 1261. After this period Byzantine gets smaller more and more; then is besieged by Ottoman Empire after 1391.

Ottoman Empire Period

The legendary conquest occured in 29th of May,1453. This date also means the end of the mediaeval. Moreover,Istanbul developed rapidly during Ottoman Empire Era. Hundreds of palaces, bazaars, mosques, institutes was set.


Istanbul has became one of the biggest cities in which Christians, Jews and Muslims live together peacefully. It has became a contemporary city with so many breakthrough such as building a bridge over the Golden Horn,a tunnel in Karaköy,railroads,sea transport,government organizations,hospitals etc. It was invaded by allied powers in 1918.

Republic Period

The capital city period of Istanbul for 2500 years ends with the republic in 29th October 1923. However, from this date on,it was being the crowdest, due to the economic and cultural aspects the most dynamic city of the world day  by day. Istanbul,which got it’s share from Turkey’s modernization adventure with its young population, has became a city integrated to the world in many aspects. Its the first metropolis come to mind when said labour,culture and entertainment tourism.

Today,Istanbul has 39 counties. 25 of them are in European side and remaining are in Anatolian side.It is also one of the biggest megalopolis with it’s 14.160.467 people population and it’s economy.

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