Story of Istanbul
BECOME A CITYZEN OF iSTANBUL
Historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey and the country's economic, cultural, and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Istanbul's strategic position on the historic Silk Road, rail networks to Europe and the Middle East, and the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have produced a cosmopolitan populace. Overlooked for the new capital Ankara during the interwar period, the city has since regained much of its prominence.
Founded under the name of Byzantium on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BCE, the city developed to become one of the most significant in history. After its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 CE, it served as an imperial capital for almost 16 centuries, during the Roman and Byzantine, the Latin, and the Ottoman empires. It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate.
Hagia Sophia was first a Greek Orthodox Christian, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum. The Roman Empire's first Christian Cathedral, from the date of its construction until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople. By 1453 however, it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was later converted into an Ottoman mosque until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum in 1935. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture". It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until the Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.
Take a walk through the Spice Market at the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul and smell the rich spices in the air. After your delightful walk, touch the heated central stone at the Çemberlitas Hamam- a beautiful spa known for its ornate architecture. While on the topic of beautiful architecture- the Ortaköy Mosque is on the waterside of the Ortaköy pier square, one of the most popular locations on the Bosphorus.
After enjoying some of the city's gorgeous architecture you ought to visit the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art- boasting that the "Istanbul Modern embraces a global vision to collect, preserve, exhibit and document works of modern and contemporary art and make them accessible to art lovers". Another beauty is the Basilica Cistern- a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople from the 3rd century.