History of Istanbul (Chronologically and In Details)

The city today known as Istanbul has been the site of human settlement for roughly 3,000 years. The settlement was established by Thracian clans between the thirteenth and eleventh hundreds of years BC, whose soonest realized name is Lygos. It was colonized by the Greeks in the seventh century BC. It tumbled to the Roman Empire in AD 196 and was known as Byzantium until 330 when it was renamed Constantinople and made the new capital of the Roman Empire. In this article, you will learn all about the history of Istanbul. Keep reading!

During late artifact, the city rose to be the biggest of the western world, with a populace cresting at near a large portion of a million people. Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which finished with the Muslim victory in 1453. Constantinople at that point turned into the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The populace had declined during the medieval period, however as the Ottoman Empire moved toward its verifiable pinnacle, the city developed to a populace of near 700,000 in the sixteenth century, by and by positioning among the world’s most crowded urban areas.

At the point when the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, the capital was moved from Constantinople to Ankara. Since 1930, the local name “Istanbul” has been the sole authority name of the city in Turkish and has since supplanted the conventional name “Constantinople” in most western dialects also. People have lived in the region presently known as Istanbul since in any event the Neolithic time frame. The soonest realized settlement dates from 6700 BC, found in 2008, during the development works of the Yenikapı metro station and the Marmaray burrow at the memorable landmass on the European side.

The main human settlement on the Anatolian side, the Fikirtepe hill, is from the Copper Age period, with relics dating from 5500 to 3500 BC. In close by Kadıköy (Chalcedon) a port settlement going back to the Phoenicians has been found.



Even though Istanbul may have been possessed as right on time as 3000 BCE, it was anything but a city until Greek settlers landed in the territory in the seventh century BCE. These homesteaders were driven by King Byzas and settled there given the key area along the Bosporus Strait. Ruler Byzas named the city Byzantium after himself.

The Roman Empire (330–395)

Byzantium turned into a piece of the Roman Empire during the 300s. During this time, the Roman ruler, Constantine the Great, embraced the remaking of the whole city. His objective was to make it stick out and give the city landmarks like those found in Rome. In 330, Constantine pronounced the city as the capital of the whole Roman Empire and renamed it Constantinople. It developed and thrived, therefore.

The Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453)

After the passing of the sovereign Theodosius I in 395, nonetheless, a colossal change occurred in the domain as his children for all time separated it. Following the division, Constantinople turned into the capital of the Byzantine Empire during the 400s. As a component of the Byzantine Empire, the city turned out to be unmistakably Greek, instead of its previous character in the Roman Empire.

Since Constantinople was at the focal point of two landmasses, it turned into a focal point of trade, culture, and tact and developed significantly. In 532, however, the antigovernment Nika Revolt broke out among the city’s populace and decimated it. A short time later, a large number of its most exceptional landmarks, one of which was the Hagia Sophia, were built during the city’s modifying, and Constantinople turned into the focal point of the Greek Orthodox Church.

The Latin Empire (1204–1261)

Even though Constantinople altogether thrived during decades following its turning into a piece of the Byzantine Empire, the components prompting its prosperity likewise made it an objective for prevailing. For many years, troops from everywhere throughout the Middle East assaulted the city. For a period it was even constrained by individuals from the Fourth Crusade after the city was profaned in 1204. In this manner, Constantinople turned into the focal point of the Catholic Latin Empire.

As rivalry continued between the Catholic Latin Empire and the Greek Orthodox Byzantine Empire, Constantinople was trapped in the center and started to altogether rot. It went monetarily bankrupt, the populace declined, and it got powerless against further assaults as protection posts around the city disintegrated. In 1261, amidst this unrest, the Empire of Nicaea recovered Constantinople, and it has come back to the Byzantine Empire. Around a similar time, the Ottoman Turks started overcoming the urban communities encompassing Constantinople, successfully cutting it off from a significant number of its neighboring urban areas.

The Ottoman Empire (1453–1922)

In the wake of being impressively debilitated, Constantinople was formally vanquished by the Ottomans, drove by Sultan Mehmed II on May 29, 1453, following a 53-day attack. During the attack, the last Byzantine sovereign, Constantine XI, kicked the bucket while safeguarding his city. Very quickly, Constantinople was announced to be the capital of the Ottoman Empire and its name was changed to Istanbul.

After assuming responsibility for the city, Sultan Mehmed tried to revive Istanbul. He made the Grand Bazaar (one of the biggest shrouded commercial centers on the planet) and brought back escaping Catholic and Greek Orthodox inhabitants. Notwithstanding these occupants, he acquired Muslim, Christian, and Jewish families to set up a blended masses. Sultan Mehmed likewise started the structure of building landmarks, schools, emergency clinics, open showers, and fabulous supreme mosques.

From 1520 to 1566, Suleiman the Magnificent controlled the Ottoman Empire, and there were numerous aesthetic and building accomplishments that made the city a significant social, political, and business focus. By the mid-1500s, its populace had developed to right around 1 million occupants. The Ottoman Empire administered Istanbul until it was vanquished and involved by the Allies in World War I.

The Republic of Turkey (1923–Present)

Following World War I, the Turkish War of Independence occurred, and Istanbul turned into a piece of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Istanbul was not the capital city of the new republic, and during the early long stretches of its development, Istanbul was ignored; venture went into the new, midway found capital, Ankara. During the 1940s and 1950s, however, Istanbul reappeared. New open squares, streets, and roads were developed—and a large number of the city’s noteworthy structures were crushed. During the 1970s, Istanbul’s populace quickly expanded, making the city venture into the close by towns and timberlands, in the end making a significant world city.

Istanbul Today

Istanbul’s numerous recorded regions were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1985. What’s more, given its status as a world rising force, its history, and its significance to culture in both Europe and the world, Istanbul was assigned the European Capital of Culture for 2010 by the European Union.

In Detail

The Early Period: Lygos

The principal name of the city was Lygos as indicated by Pliny the Elder in his chronicled records. It was established by Thracian clans between the thirteenth and eleventh hundreds of years BC, alongside the neighboring angling town of Semistra. Only a couple of dividers and substructures having a place with Lygos have made due to date, close to the Seraglio Point (Turkish: Sarayburnu), where the celebrated Topkapı Palace currently stands. Lygos and Semistra were the main settlements on the European side of Constantinople.

On the Asian side, there was a Phoenician settlement. On the site of Lygos, the later Byzantium was found, therefore Lygos is acknowledged as the city which offered ascend to Constantinople.


Byzantium was one of the numerous provinces established from the finish of the eighth century BCE forward along the shores of the Bosporus and the Black Sea by Greek pioneers from the urban communities of Miletus and Megara. The Persian lord Darius I took the settlement in 512 BCE; it slipped from Persian handle during the Ionian revolt of 496, just to be retaken by the Persians.

In 478 an Athenian armada caught the city, which at that point turned into a rich and significant individual from the Delian League. As Athenian force melted away during the Peloponnesian War, Byzantines recognized Spartan overlordship. Even though Alcibiades attacked and retook the city, Sparta reasserted its mastery in the wake of vanquishing Athens in 405 BCE.

In 343 BCE Byzantium joined the Second Athenian League, losing the attack of Philip II of Macedon three years after the fact. The lifting of the attack was credited to the celestial intercession of the goddess Hecate and was celebrated by the striking of coins bearing her star and bow. Byzantium acknowledged the Macedonian principle under Alexander the Great, recovering autonomy just with the overshadowing of Macedonian may.

In the third century BCE, the city’s treasury was depleted to pay off pillaging Gauls. A free city under Rome, it slowly fell under majestic control and quickly lost its opportunity under the ruler Vespasian. When in 196 CE it agreed with the usurper Pescennius Niger, the Roman sovereign Septimius Severus slaughtered the people, leveled the dividers, and attached the remaining parts to the city of Perinthus (or Heraclea, present-day Marmaraereğlisi), in Turkey.

Along these lines, Septimius Severus reconstructed the city on a similar spot yet on a more amazing scale. Albeit sacked again by Gallienus in 268, the city was sufficient two years after the fact to oppose a Gothic attack. In the consequent common wars and uprisings that broke out sporadically in the Roman Empire, Byzantium stayed immaculate until the appearance of the head Constantine I—the primary Roman ruler to embrace Christianity. Conquering the military of the opponent sovereign, Licinius, at close by Chrysopolis, on Sept. 18, 324, Constantine became a leader of the entire Roman Empire, east and west. He chose to make Byzantium his capital.


Inside three weeks of his triumph, the established customs of New Rome were performed, and the much-amplified city was authoritatively initiated on May 11, 330. It was a demonstration of tremendous recorded omen. Constantinople was to get one of the extraordinary world capitals, a text style of royal and strict influence, a city of immense riches and excellence, and the central city of the Western world. Until the ascent of the Italian sea states, it was the primary city in trade, just as the central city of what was until the mid-eleventh century the most grounded and most renowned force in Europe.

Constantine’s decision of capital had significant impacts upon the old Greek and Roman universes. It uprooted the force focus of the Roman Empire, moving it eastbound, and accomplished the main enduring unification of Greece. Socially, Constantinople encouraged a combination of Oriental and Occidental custom, workmanship, and design. The religion was Christian, the association Roman, and the language and viewpoint Greek. The idea of the awesome right of lords, rulers who were protectors of the confidence—rather than the ruler as perfect himself—was developed there.

The gold solidus of Constantine held its worth and filled in as a fiscal standard for more than a thousand years. As the hundreds of years passed—the Christian domain kept going 1,130 years—Constantinople, the seat of the realm, was to become as significant as the domain itself; at last, even though the regions had practically contracted away, the capital persevered.

Constantine’s new city dividers significantly increased the size of Byzantium, which currently contained majestic structures, for example, the finished Hippodrome started by Septimius Severus, a colossal royal residence, authoritative lobbies, a few monumental houses of worship, and boulevards embellished with huge numbers of statues taken from rival urban areas. Notwithstanding different attractions of the capital, free bread and citizenship were offered on those pilgrims who might fill the unfilled reaches past the old dividers. There was, moreover, a greeting for Christians, a resilience of different convictions, and altruism toward Jews.

Constantinople was likewise a ministerial focus. In 381 it turned into the seat of a patriarch who was second just to the cleric of Rome; the patriarch of Constantinople is as yet the ostensible leader of the Orthodox church. Constantine initiated the primary ecumenical committees; the initial six were held in or close to Constantinople. In the fifth and sixth hundreds of years, rulers were occupied with contriving intends to keep the Monophysites joined to the domain. In the eighth and ninth hundreds of years, Constantinople was the focal point of the fight among heathens and the safeguards of symbols.

The issue was settled by the seventh ecumenical chamber against the skeptics, yet not before much blood had been spilled and endless gems pulverized. The Eastern and Western wings of the congregation drew further separated, and following quite a while of doctrinal contradiction among Rome and Constantinople, a break happened in the eleventh century. The pope initially endorsed the sack of Constantinople in 1204, at that point censured it. Different endeavors were made to mend the break-even with the Turkish danger to the city, yet the disruptive powers of doubt and doctrinal differences were excessively solid.

Before the finish of the fourth century, Constantine’s dividers had gotten unreasonably binding for the affluent and crowded city. St. John Chrysostom, composing toward the finish of that century, said numerous nobles had 10 to 20 houses and possessed 1 to 2,000 slaves. Entryways were regularly made of ivory, floors were of mosaic or were canvassed inexpensive carpets, and beds and sofas were overlaid with valuable metals.

The populace pressure from inside, and the brute danger from without, incited the structure of dividers more distant inland at the grip of the landmass. These new dividers of the mid-fifth century worked in the rule of Theodosius II, are those that stand today. In the rule of Justinian I (527–565) medieval Constantinople achieved its apex.

Toward the start of this rule, the populace is evaluated to have been around 500,000. In 532 an enormous piece of the city was scorched and a large number of the populace slaughtered throughout the suppression of the Nika Insurrection, an uprising of the Hippodrome groups. The remaking of the desolated city allowed Justinian the chance to take part in a program of eminent development, of which numerous structures remain.

In 542 the city was struck by a plague that is said to have executed three out of each five occupants; the decrease of Constantinople dates from this calamity. The capital, as well as the entire domain, mulled, and moderate recuperation was not noticeable until the ninth century. During this period the city was regularly attacked—by the Persians and Avars (626), the Arabs (674 to 678 and again from 717 to 718), the Bulgars (813 and 913), the Russians (860, 941, and 1043), and a meandering Turkic individuals, the Pechenegs (1090–91). All were fruitless.

In 1082 the Venetians were allocated quarters in the city itself (there was a previous cantonment for outside brokers at Galata over the Golden Horn) with uncommon exchanging benefits. They were later joined by Pisans, Amalfitans, Genoese, and others. These Italian gatherings before long acquired a stranglehold over the city’s an outside exchange—a restraining infrastructure that was at long last broken by a slaughter of Italians. Not for quite a while were Italian dealers allowed again to settle in Galata.

In 1203 the militaries of the Fourth Crusade, diverted from their goal in the Holy Land, showed up before Constantinople—apparently to reestablish the authentic Byzantine ruler, Isaac II. Even though the city fell, it stayed under its very own legislature for a year. On April 13, 1204, in any case, the Crusaders burst into the city to sack it. After a general slaughter, the loot continued for quite a long time. The Crusading knights introduced one of themselves, Baldwin of Flanders, as ruler, and the Venetians—prime instigators of the Crusade—assumed responsibility for the congregation.

While the Latins separated the remainder of the domain among themselves, the Byzantines settled in themselves over the Bosporus at Nicaea (presently Iznik) and Epirus (presently northwestern Greece). The time of Latin guideline (1204 to 1261) was the most heartbreaking throughout the entire existence of Constantinople. Indeed, even the bronze statues were softened down for coin; everything of significant worth was taken. Hallowed relics were torn from the asylums and dispatched to strict foundations in western Europe.

In 1261 Constantinople was retaken by Michael VIII (Palaeologus), Greek head of Nicaea. For the following two centuries the contracted Byzantine Empire, compromised both from the West and by the rising intensity of the Ottoman Turks in Asia Minor, drove a tricky presence. Some development was done in the late thirteenth and mid-fourteenth hundreds of years, yet from there on the city was in rot, loaded with vestiges and tracts of left ground, standing out from the prosperous state of Galata over the Golden Horn, which had been conceded to the Genoese by the Byzantine ruler Michael VIII.

At the point when the Turks crossed into Europe in the mid-fourteenth century, the destiny of Constantinople was fixed. The inescapable end was hindered by the thrashing of the Turks because of Timur (Tamerlane) in 1402; yet in 1422 the Ottoman sultan of Turkey, Murad II, laid attack to Constantinople. This endeavor fizzled, just to be rehashed 30 years after the fact. In 1452 another Ottoman sultan, Mehmed II, continued to barricade the Bosporus by the erection of a solid post at its tightest point; this stronghold, called Rumelihisarı, still structures one of the vital tourist spots of the waterways.

The attack of the city started in April 1453. The Turks had overpowering numerical prevalence as well as a gun that broke the old dividers. The Golden Horn was ensured by a chain, however, the sultan prevailing with regards to pulling his armada via land from the Bosporus into the Golden Horn. The last ambush was made on May 29, and, regardless of the frantic obstruction of the occupants helped by the Genoese, the city fell. The last Byzantine ruler, Constantine XI (Palaeologus), was slaughtered in a fight. For three days the city was relinquished to plunder and slaughter, after which request was reestablished by the sultan.

Centuries of Growth

At the point when Constantinople was caught, it was nearly left. Mehmed II started to repeople it by moving to its populaces from other vanquished regions, for example, the Peloponnese, Salonika (current Thessaloníki), and the Greek islands. By around 1480 the populace rose to somewhere in the range of 60,000 and 70,000. Hagia Sophia and other Byzantine houses of worship were changed into mosques. The Greek patriarchate was held, yet moved to the Church of the Pammakaristos Virgin (Mosque of Fethiye), later to locate a lasting home in the Fener (Phanar) quarter.

The sultan manufactured the Old Seraglio (Eski Saray), presently obliterated, on the site involved at present by the college, and a little later the Topkapı Palace (Seraglio), which is still in presence; he likewise assembled the Eyüp Mosque at the leader of the Golden Horn and the Mosque of the Fatih on the site of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles. The capital of the Ottoman Empire was moved to Constantinople from Adrianople (Edirne) in 1457.

After Mehmed II, Istanbul experienced a significant stretch of serene development, hindered uniquely by cataclysmic events—quakes, flames, and diseases. The sultans and their pastors gave themselves to the structure of wellsprings, mosques, castles, and altruistic establishments with the goal that the part of the city was soon totally changed. The most splendid time of Turkish development agrees with the rule of the Ottoman ruler Süleyman the Magnificent (1520–66).

The following significant change throughout the entire existence of Istanbul happened toward the start of the nineteenth century when dissection of the Ottoman Empire was drawing nearer. This period is known as the time of interior changes (Tanzimat). The changes were joined by genuine unsettling influences, for example, the slaughter of the Janissaries in the Hippodrome (1826). With the triumph of the dynamic Ottoman sultan Mahmud II over the traditionalist resistance, the Westernization of Istanbul began apace. There was a consistently developing deluge of European guests who, since the 1830s, could arrive at Istanbul by steamship.

The main scaffold over the Golden Horn was worked in 1838. In 1839 the Ottoman sultan Abdülmecid I gave a contract ensuring to every one of his subjects, whatever their religion, the security of their lives and fortunes. The procedure of Westernization was additionally quickened by the Crimean War (1853–56) and the quartering of British and French soldiers in Istanbul. The last piece of the nineteenth and the start of the twentieth century were set apart by the presence of different open administrations: the European railroad stretching out to Istanbul was started in the mid-1870s.

The underground passage joining Galata to Pera was finished in 1873; an ordinary water supply for Istanbul and the settlements on the European side of the Bosporus was brought from Lake Terkos on the Black Sea coast (29 miles from the city) by the French organization, La Compagnie des Eaux, after 1885; electric lighting was presented in 1912 and electric road vehicles and phones in 1913 and 1914. A sufficient sewerage framework needed to hold up until 1925 and later.


As the years passed the populace expanded, from around 80,000 at the demise of Mehmet to 300,000 by the eighteenth century, and 400,000 of every 1800. The capital of a domain that extended across Europe, Asia and Africa, it additionally turned into a significant strategic focus, with a few remote international safe havens. It was simply after 1922, after the war among Greece and Turkey that things truly started to change.

With the foundation of the new Turkish Republic, based on an influx of patriotism, there was a mass departure of a great part of the Greek and Armenian populace from Istanbul, which had stopped to be the capital. After mobs in 1955, the rest of the division likewise withdrew. The city was modernized from the 1870s onwards with the structure of scaffolds, the production of a legitimate water framework, the utilization of electric lights, and the presentation of cable cars and phones.

Modern Istanbul

In the main quarter of the twentieth century, different disturbances were denoting the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the introduction of present-day Turkey. In 1908 the city was involved by the military of the Young Turks who removed the abhorred sultan Abdülhamid II. During the Balkan Wars (1912–13) Istanbul was about caught by the Bulgarians. All through World War I the city was under the barricade. After the finish of the Armistice (1918), it was put under British, French, and Italian occupation that went on until 1923.

The Greco-Turkish War in Asia Minor, just as the Russian Revolution, carried a large number of evacuees to Istanbul. With the triumph of the Nationalists under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the sultanate was abrogated, and the last Ottoman sultan, Mehmed VI, fled from Istanbul (1922). After the marking of the Treaty of Lausanne, Istanbul was cleared by the Allies (Oct. 2, 1923), and Ankara was picked as the capital of Turkey (Oct. 13, 1923).

On October 29 the Turkish Republic was broadcasted. Given Turkey’s lack of bias during the vast majority of World War II, Istanbul endured no harm, albeit a German attack was dreaded after the Balkans had been vanquished by the Axis. In the period following World War II, the size and populace of Istanbul expanded significantly as tremendous quantities of provincial inhabitants moved to the city looking for a business.

This almost 10-overlap increment in the city’s populace during the second 50% of the twentieth century set gigantic strains on Istanbul’s framework, and, in an example normal of huge Middle Eastern urban areas, congestion, contamination, and inadequate city administrations became significant social issues. In like manner, in an area inclined to brutal seismic movement, the multiplication of inadequate and unregistered development contributed significantly to high losses of life during quakes; in August 1999 a tremor focused close to Istanbul executed more than 15,000 individuals.

These improvements occurred against the scenery of a city whose profile was as a rule quickly adjusted by a blast in the utilization of cars. Enormous tracts of the city were obliterated or cleared to clear a path for present-day thruways, which further added to urban spread, and by the end of the century, significant ventures had been attempted to interface the Asian and European sides of the city by street and rail. Istanbul is the biggest city in Turkey and is among the 15 biggest urban regions on the planet.

It is situated on the Bosporus Strait and spreads the whole territory of the Golden Horn, a characteristic harbor. On account of its size, Istanbul reaches out to both Europe and Asia. The city is the world’s just city to be on more than one mainland. The city of Istanbul is imperative to geology since it has a long history that traverses the ascent and fall of the world’s most celebrated domains. Because of its support in these realms, Istanbul has likewise experienced different name changes.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

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