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It's the city of Constantine, the city of happiness, the city of Islam. Its history goes back millenia.  Istanbul was formerly known as Byzantium, an ancient Greek colony. Rumour has it that King Byzas of Megara “took his colonists here in the 7th century BCE to establish a colony named Byzantium,” according to the All About Istanbul website. An oracle of Delphi had told Byzas “to settle across from the ‘land of the blind’ and Byzas believed earlier settlers on the Asian side – of Chalcedon – must have been ‘blind’ for overlooking the superb location at the entrance of the Bosporus strait, only access to the Black Sea,” suggests All About Istanbul.

Archaeologist and editor of ‘Arkeoloji ve Sanat’ (Archaeology and Art) magazine, Nezih Basgelen, has compiled and sent some information via email to TRT World. He says that the earliest name given to the historical peninsula that Istanbul is built on, was Byzantion/Bizantion. The name is supposedly derived from the Thracian name of Byzas/Vizas. According to old rumours, the city was established by King Bizas (possibly a variation on Byzas), the son of demigod Semestras raised by Thracian Buzie.

As for the name Istanbul, it came much later, says Professor Yakoob Ahmed of Istanbul University’s theology department, who teaches Islamic and Ottoman History there. After Byzantion, when the city was under Roman rule, it was re-named by Roman emperor Septimus Severus as Augusta Antonina. This was after his son. When the seat of the empire moved to the city in AD 330, it was labelled Secunda Roma (Second Rome). It was called Nova Roma (new Rome in Latin) starting from the fifth century, and its citizens, the Romaios. The name, however, did not stick.

Bizantion was a Thracian name, while in Ottoman papers, the Arabic and Armenian forms were also Byzantia, Byzandia, Buzantiye, Puzanta, Buzantis. From Islamic sources, one learns that there were others, too, such as, Rûmiyyetü’l-kübrâ (Grand Rome), Taht-? Rûm (Seat of Rome), Gulgule-i Rûm (sound of Rome) originating from Nova Roma.

Then, of course, there was Constantinopolis (Latin)/Constantinople (English). The name was derived from the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who made the city the capital of his empire (AD 306 to 337). It was a common name and became official. The derivative of Konstantiniyye was used by Arabs and Persians, while the Ottomans utilised it in money and official correspondence.

Constantinopolis was the prevalent name used throughout Roman and Byzantine times, and the West used it for much longer than that, even when the city was under Ottoman rule (from AD 1453).

Famously, the Ottoman Empire used the variant of Konstantiniyye until the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “until the Turkish Post Office officially changed the name in 1930 ... the city continued to bear the millenary name of Constantinople.”

“We are not sure how [the name Istanbul] was developed as it emerged from the Greek and we are not sure how far it goes back,” Ahmed says. “It means to the city, so if you see the word Constantinople it has the word Stan and Pol in it as it was called Constantinopolis. It simply means I Sten Pol meaning within the city, probably meaning within the old city walls.”
Locals in Constantinople referred to the city as I Sten Pol (within the city) from the 10th century, as evidenced in Armenian and Arabic sources (without the initial I-) and Ottoman sources, too. The “I Sten Pol” eventually morphed into one word, according to Marek Stachowski, Robert Woodhouse, authors of "The Etymology of ?stanbul: Making Optimal Use of the Evidence". In summary, it can be said that the Greek way of referring to Constantinople as “the city” carried over to others.

“When the Ottomans conquered Istanbul they by and large kept the old Greek names such as the Bosporus, Uskudar and of course Hagia Sophia,” Ahmed continues. “Halil Inalcik makes the claim that Fatih attempted to popularise the name ISLAMbul and that was used, but was never made official.”

“In reality the Ottomans were comfortable using the Ottomanised/Arabised name of Constantinople which they called Constantiniyye. They called it other names too such as Payitaht [meaning “capital] and Asitane but these were never officially used,” Ahmed explains. 
According to a late scholar who spoke to the local press in 2012, during the Ottoman era the most common name for the city was the Arabic version of Constantinopolis, Konstantiniyye, and that it was also referred to as ‘Dersaadet’, the city of happiness, and big dervish convent, ‘Asitane’. Ottoman sultans did not get stuck on names - there was, though, one exception. “Sultan Mustafa the Third used ‘the city of Islam’ Islambol in his imperial writings.” The root of “Istanbul” is ‘stinpolis’ in Greek, and it means a form of the phrase “to the city”.
The city - in reference - is the city within city walls. “At the time, they never called the places outside city walls Istanbul. That is the main mistake nowadays. When they say the other side, they are never referring to Kadikoy [on the Asian side] but to Galata. When they refer to crossing over to the other side, they mean from Karakoy to Galata, Galata to Kuledibi. There is no Taksim yet, there is Uskudar. And there are seasonally used Princes’ Islands and villages on the Bosporus. That is, the Bosporus is not considered Istanbul.”

“Colloquially, it is ‘?eher’. When someone says he is going to Istanbul, he means ‘within the city walls’. Someone in Kadikoy says ‘I am going to Istanbul today’ and someone in Taksim says ‘I am going down to Istanbul today’. I find that a greater distinction,” scholars say.



Istanbul ( IST-an-BUUL,[7][8]  formerly known as Constantinople[b] (Greek: Constantinopolis), is the largest city in Turkey, serving as the country's economic, cultural and historic hub. The city straddles the Bosporus strait, lying in both Europe and Asia, and has a population of over 15 million residents, comprising 19% of the population of Turkey.[4] Istanbul is the most populous European city,[c] and the world's 15th-largest city.

[b]The city was founded as Byzantium (Greek: Byzantion) in the 7th century BCE by Greek settlers from Megara.[9] In 330 CE, the Roman emperor Constantine the Great made it his imperial capital, renaming it first as New Rome (GreekNea Rhom?; Latin: Nova Roma)[10] and then as Constantinople (Constantinopolis) after himself.[10][11] The city grew in size and influence, eventually becoming a beacon of the Silk Road and one of the most important cities in history.

The city served as an imperial capital for almost 1600 years: during the Roman/Byzantine (330–1204), Latin (1204–1261), late Byzantine (1261–1453), and Ottoman (1453–1922) empires.[12] The city played a key role in the advancement of Christianity during Roman/Byzantine times, hosting four of the first seven ecumenical councils before its transformation to an Islamic stronghold following the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 CE—especially after becoming the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1517.[13] In 1923, after the Turkish War of Independence, Ankara replaced the city as the capital of the newly formed Republic of Turkey. In 1930, the city's name was officially changed to Istanbul, the Turkish rendering (romanized: eis t?n Pólin; 'to the City'), the appellation Greek speakers used since the 11th century to colloquially refer to the city.[10][/b]
[b]Over 13.4 million foreign visitors came to Istanbul in 2018, eight years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making it the world's eighth most visited city.[14] The historic centre of Istanbul is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city hosts the headquarters of numerous Turkish companies, accounting for more than thirty percent of the country's economy.[15][16] 

Column of Constantine[17]
The first known name of the city is Byzantium (Greek: Byzántion), the name given to it at its foundation by Megarian colonists around 657 BCE.[10][18] Megarian colonists claimed a direct line back to the founders of the city, Byzas, the son of the god Poseidon and the nymph Ceroëssa.[18] Modern excavations have raised the possibility that the name Byzantium might reflect the sites of native Thracian settlements that preceded the fully-fledged town.[19] Constantinople comes from the Latin name Constantinus, after Constantine the Great, the Roman emperor who refounded the city in 324 CE.[18] Constantinople remained the most common name for the city in the West until the 1930s, when Turkish authorities began to press for the use of "Istanbul" in foreign languages. ?os?an??n?ye (Ottoman Turkish: ?????????) and ?stanbul were the names used alternatively by the Ottomans during their rule.[20][/b]
[b]The name ?stanbul (Turkish pronunciation: [is?tanbu?] colloquial Turkish pronunciation: [?s?tambu?]) is commonly held to derive from the Medieval Greek phrase "??? ??? ?????" (pronounced Greek pronunciation: [is tim ?bolin]), which means "to the city"[21] and is how Constantinople was referred to by the local Greeks. This reflected its status as the only major city in the vicinity. The importance of Constantinople in the Ottoman world was also reflected by its nickname Der Saadet meaning the 'Gate to Prosperity' in Ottoman Turkish.[22] An alternative view is that the name evolved directly from the name Constantinople, with the first and third syllables dropped.[18] Some Ottoman sources of the 17th century, such as Evliya Çelebi, describe it as the common Turkish name of the time; between the late 17th and late 18th centuries, it was also in official use. The first use of the word Islambol (Ottoman Turkish: ????????) on coinage was in 1730 during the reign of Sultan Mahmud I.[23] In modern Turkish, the name is written as ?stanbul, with a dotted ?, as the Turkish alphabet distinguishes between a dotted and dotless I. In English the stress is on the first or last syllable, but in Turkish it is on the second syllable (-tan-).[24] A person from the city is an ?stanbullu (plural: ?stanbullular); Istanbulite is used in English.[25] 

This large keystone might have belonged to a triumphal arch at the Forum of Constantine (present-day Çemberlita?).[17]
Main article: History of Istanbul
See also: Timeline of Istanbul history
Historical affiliations
Byzantium 667 BC–510 BC
undefined Persian Empire 512 BC–478 BC
Byzantium (Under Athens) 478 BC–404 BC
Byzantium 404 BC–196 CE
Roman Empire 196–395 (Capital between 330–395)
Byzantine Empire 395–1204
Latin Empire 1204–1261
Byzantine Empire 1261–1453
Ottoman Empire 1453–1918
 Occupation of Istanbul 1918–1923
Turkish National Movement 1923
Turkey 1923–Present

Neolithic artifacts, uncovered by archeologists at the beginning of the 21st century, indicate that Istanbul's historic peninsula was settled as far back as the 6th millennium BCE.[26] That early settlement, important in the spread of the Neolithic Revolution from the Near East to Europe, lasted for almost a millennium before being inundated by rising water levels.[27][26][28][29] The first human settlement on the Asian side, the Fikirtepe mound, is from the Copper Age period, with artifacts dating from 5500 to 3500 BCE,[30] On the European side, near the point of the peninsula (Sarayburnu), there was a Thracian settlement during the early 1st millennium BCE. Modern authors have linked it to the Thracian toponym Lygos,[31] mentioned by Pliny the Elder as an earlier name for the site of Byzantium.[32][/b]
[b]The history of the city proper begins around 660 BCE,[10][33][d] when Greek settlers from Megara established Byzantium on the European side of the Bosporus. The settlers built an acropolis adjacent to the Golden Horn on the site of the early Thracian settlements, fueling the nascent city's economy.[39] The city experienced a brief period of Persian rule at the turn of the 5th century BCE, but the Greeks recaptured it during the Greco-Persian Wars.[40] Byzantium then continued as part of the Athenian League and its successor, the Second Athenian League, before gaining independence in 355 BCE.[41] Long allied with the Romans, Byzantium officially became a part of the Roman Empire in 73 CE.[42] Byzantium's decision to side with the Roman usurper Pescennius Niger against Emperor Septimius Severus cost it dearly; by the time it surrendered at the end of 195 CE, two years of siege had left the city devastated.[43] Five years later, Severus began to rebuild Byzantium, and the city regained—and, by some accounts, surpassed—its previous prosperity.[44] 
[b]Rise and fall of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire

Originally built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century and later rebuilt by Justinian the Great after the Nika riots in 532, the Hagia Irene is an Eastern Orthodox Church located in the outer courtyard of Topkap? Palace in Istanbul. It is one of the few Byzantine era churches that were never converted into mosques; during the Ottoman period it served as Topkap?'s principal armoury.

Originally a church, later a mosque, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia (532–537) by Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral (1507) in Spain.[/b]
[b]Constantine the Great effectively became the emperor of the whole of the Roman Empire in September 324.[45] Two months later, he laid out the plans for a new, Christian city to replace Byzantium. As the eastern capital of the empire, the city was named Nova Roma; most called it Constantinople, a name that persisted into the 20th century.[46] On 11 May 330, Constantinople was proclaimed the capital of the Roman Empire, which was later permanently divided between the two sons of Theodosius I upon his death on 17 January 395, when the city became the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.[47]
[b]The establishment of Constantinople was one of Constantine's most lasting accomplishments, shifting Roman power eastward as the city became a center of Greek culture and Christianity.[47][48] Numerous churches were built across the city, including Hagia Sophia which was built during the reign of Justinian the Great and remained the world's largest cathedral for a thousand years.[49] Constantine also undertook a major renovation and expansion of the Hippodrome of Constantinople; accommodating tens of thousands of spectators, the hippodrome became central to civic life and, in the 5th and 6th centuries, the center of episodes of unrest, including the Nika riots.[50][51] Constantinople's location also ensured its existence would stand the test of time; for many centuries, its walls and seafront protected Europe against invaders from the east and the advance of Islam.[48] During most of the Middle Ages, the latter part of the Byzantine era, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city on the European continent and at times the largest in the world.[52][53] Constantinople is generally considered to be the center and the "cradle of Orthodox Christian civilization".[54][55]

Constantinople began to decline continuously after the end of the reign of Basil II in 1025. The Fourth Crusade was diverted from its purpose in 1204, and the city was sacked and pillaged by the crusaders.[56] They established the Latin Empire in place of the Orthodox Byzantine Empire.[57] Hagia Sophia was converted to a Catholic church in 1204. The Byzantine Empire was restored, albeit weakened, in 1261.[58] Constantinople's churches, defenses, and basic services were in disrepair,[59] and its population had dwindled to a hundred thousand from half a million during the 8th century.[e] After the reconquest of 1261, however, some of the city's monuments were restored, and some, like the two Deesis mosaics in Hagia Sophia and Kariye, were created.[60]

The 6th century Basilica Cistern was built by Justinian the Great. Various economic and military policies instituted by Andronikos II, such as the reduction of military forces, weakened the empire and left it vulnerable to attack.[61] In the mid-14th-century, the Ottoman Turks began a strategy of gradually taking smaller towns and cities, cutting off Constantinople's supply routes and strangling it slowly.[62] On 29 May 1453, after an eight-week siege (during which the last Roman emperor, Constantine XI, was killed), Sultan Mehmed II "the Conqueror" captured Constantinople and declared it the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. Hours later, the sultan rode to the Hagia Sophia and summoned an imam to proclaim the Islamic creed, converting the grand cathedral into an imperial mosque due to the city's refusal to surrender peacefully.[63] Mehmed declared himself as the new Kayser-i Rûm (the Ottoman Turkish equivalent of the Caesar of Rome) and the Ottoman state was reorganized into an empire.[64][65]
Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic eras

Map of Istanbul in the 16th century by the Ottoman polymath Matrakç? Nasuh
Following the conquest of Constantinople,[f] Mehmed II immediately set out to revitalize the city. Cognizant that revitalization would fail without the repopulation of the city, Mehmed II welcomed everyone–foreigners, criminals, and runaways– showing extraordinary openness and willingness to incorporate outsiders that came to define Ottoman political culture.[67] He also invited people from all over Europe to his capital, creating a cosmopolitan society that persisted through much of the Ottoman period.[68] Revitalizing Istanbul also required a massive program of restorations, of everything from roads to aqueducts.[69] Like many monarchs before and since, Mehmed II transformed Istanbul's urban landscape with wholesale redevelopment of the city center.[70] There was a huge new palace to rival, if not overshadow, the old one, a new covered market (still standing as the Grand Bazaar), porticoes, pavilions, walkways, as well as more than a dozen new mosques.[69] Mehmed II turned the ramshackle old town into something that looked like an imperial capital.[70][/b]
[b]Social hierarchy was ignored by the rampant plague, which killed the rich and the poor alike
[*][b]in the 16th century.[71] Money could not protect the rich from all the discomforts and harsher sides of Istanbul.[71] Although the Sultan lived at a safe remove from the masses, and the wealthy and poor tended to live side by side, for the most part Istanbul was not zoned as modern cities are.[71] Opulent houses shared the same streets and districts with tiny hovels.[71] Those rich enough to have secluded country properties had a chance of escaping the periodic epidemics of sickness that blighted Istanbul.[71]

The Ottoman Dynasty claimed the status of caliphate in 1517, with Constantinople remaining the capital of this last caliphate for four centuries.[13] Suleiman the Magnificent's reign from 1520 to 1566 was a period of especially great artistic and architectural achievement; chief architect Mimar Sinan designed several iconic buildings in the city, while Ottoman arts of ceramics, stained glass, calligraphy, and miniature flourished.[72] The population of Constantinople was 570,000 by the end of the 18th century.[73][/b]
[b]A period of rebellion at the start of the 19th century led to the rise of the progressive Sultan Mahmud II and eventually to the Tanzimat period, which produced political reforms and allowed new technology to be introduced to the city.[74] Bridges across the Golden Horn were constructed during this period,[75] and Constantinople was connected to the rest of the European railway network in the 1880s.[76] Modern facilities, such as a water supply network, electricity, telephones, and trams, were gradually introduced to Constantinople over the following decades, although later than to other European cities.[77] The modernization efforts were not enough to forestall the decline of the Ottoman Empire.[78]

Sultan Abdul Hamid II was deposed with the Young Turk Revolution in 1908 and the Ottoman Parliament, closed since 14 February 1878, was reopened 30 years later on 23 July 1908, which marked the beginning of the Second Constitutional Era.[79] A series of wars in the early 20th century, such as the Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912) and the Balkan Wars (1912–1913), plagued the ailing empire's capital and resulted in the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état, which brought the regime of the Three Pashas.[80][/b]
[b]The Ottoman Empire joined World War I (1914–1918) on the side of the Central Powers and was ultimately defeated. The deportation of Armenian intellectuals on 24 April 1915 was among the major events which marked the start of the Armenian genocide during WWI.[81] Due to Ottoman and Turkish policies of Turkification and ethnic cleansing, the city's Christian population declined from 450,000 to 240,000 between 1914 and 1927.[82] The Armistice of Mudros was signed on 30 October 1918 and the Allies occupied Constantinople on 13 November 1918. The Ottoman Parliament was dissolved by the Allies on 11 April 1920 and the Ottoman delegation led by Damat Ferid Pasha was forced to sign the Treaty of Sèvres on 10 August 1920.[citation needed]

A view of Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Street) in the late 1920s. Completed in 1892, the Ottoman Bank headquarters is seen at left. In 1995 the Istanbul Stock Exchange moved to ?stinye, while numerous Turkish banks have moved to Levent and Maslak.[83][/b]
[b]Following the Turkish War of Independence (1919–1922), the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara abolished the Sultanate on 1 November 1922, and the last Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed VI, was declared persona non grata. Leaving aboard the British warship HMS Malaya on 17 November 1922, he went into exile and died in Sanremo, Italy, on 16 May 1926. The Treaty of Lausanne was signed on 24 July 1923, and the occupation of Constantinople ended with the departure of the last forces of the Allies from the city on 4 October 1923.[84] Turkish forces of the Ankara government, commanded by ?ükrü Naili Pasha (3rd Corps), entered the city with a ceremony on 6 October 1923, which has been marked as the Liberation Day of Istanbul (Turkish: ?stanbul'un Kurtulu?u) and is commemorated every year on its anniversary.[84] On 29 October 1923 the Grand National Assembly of Turkey declared the establishment of the Turkish Republic, with Ankara as its capital. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the Republic's first President.[85][86]
[b]A 1942 wealth tax assessed mainly on non-Muslims led to the transfer or liquidation of many businesses owned by religious minorities.[87] From the late 1940s and early 1950s, Istanbul underwent great structural change, as new public squares, boulevards, and avenues were constructed throughout the city, sometimes at the expense of historical buildings.[88] The population of Istanbul began to rapidly increase in the 1970s, as people from Anatolia migrated to the city to find employment in the many new factories that were built on the outskirts of the sprawling metropolis. This sudden, sharp rise in the city's population caused a large demand for housing, and many previously outlying villages and forests became engulfed into the metropolitan area of Istanbul.[89]


The Istiklâl Marsi (English: Independence March) is the national anthem of the Republic of Turkey, officially adopted on 12 March 1921 —two-and-a-half years before the 29 October 1923 establishment of the nation— both as a motivational musical saga for the troops fighting in the Turkish War of Independence, and as an aspirational anthem for a Republic that was yet to be established. Penned by Mehmet Âkif Ersoy, and ultimately composed by Osman Zeki Üngör, the theme is one of affection for the Turkish homeland, freedom, and faith, as well as praise for the virtues of hope, devotion, and sacrifice in the pursuit of liberty, all explored through visual, tactile, and kinesthetic imagery as these concepts relate to the flag, the human spirit, and the soil of the homeland. The original manuscript by Ersoy carries the dedication Kahraman Ordumuza – "To our Heroic Army", in reference to the people's army that ultimately won the Turkish War of Independence, with lyrics that reflect on the sacrifices of the soldiers during the war. The anthem is regularly heard during state and military events, as well as during national festivals, bayrams, sporting events, and school ceremonies. Visual depictions can also be found adorning state or public displays, such as in the form of a scroll displaying the first two quatrains of the anthem on the reverse of the Turkish 100 lira banknotes of 1983–1989

National anthem of Turkey(1923-1930)(First recording) - Istiklal Marsinin ilk Hali 


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