History of Istanbul, Turkey

By | January 26, 2022

Today’s Istanbul goes back to around 660 BC. On the Thracian (European) side of the Bosphorus, the Greek colony Byzantion (Byzantium) was established, which gained considerable prosperity through the Black Sea trade (salted meat, grain, the latter from Crimea to Greece, important especially for Athens). In the 5th century BC Byzantium was a member of the 1st, 4th century BC. BC of the 2nd Attic League; since 201 BC Christian ally of the Romans. In 196 AD it was partially destroyed by Septimius Severus, then rebuilt at the intercession of Caracalla, and threatened by the Goths in 258–269 AD. The favorable geographical location and the growing importance of the eastern half of the Roman Empire prompted it Constantine I, the great, to develop the city to the “New Rome” (since 324) andto elevate itto the imperial capital Constantinopolis (Constantinople) (May 11, 330 official inauguration date). Following the example of Rome, Constantinople was divided into 14 regions and seven hills and imitated the privileges and constitutional institutions of the old capital in detail (e.g. the Senate). Capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire)since 395, the city was rebuilt under Theodosius II. Under Emperor Justinian I (527-565) the city, which at that time had more than 500,000 residents, experienced its heyday; Justinian I. had Constantinople, which was largely cremated during the Nika Uprising (532), splendidly restored (Hagia Sophia), strengthened the Orthodox imperial church and helped the city’s patriarchs to rank second in the church after the bishop of Rome. In the centuries that followed, Constantinople was subjected to many unsuccessful sieges and attacks (by Persians and Avars, Arabs, Bulgarians, Russians and others). The population decreased until the 14th / 15th. Century down to around 50,000. The growing foreign economic interests were reflected in the settlements of traders from Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi near the Golden Horn. The initiative of the Venetian Doge Enrico Dandolo led to the first and second conquests of the city by the occidental armies of the 4th Crusade (1203/04) and the establishment of the Latin Empire (1204), which, however, was eliminated in 1261 by the restoration of the Byzantine Empire. The Ottomans repeatedly besieged the capital (including in 1422) and finally conquered it on May 29, 1453.

According to Prozipcodes, the city became the residence of the sultans and the capital of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey, history). In addition to its political, economic, religious and cultural significance, it retained its international character. Mehmed II ordered the resettlement of Anatolian city dwellers to Istanbul, his successor Bajasid II asked Spanish Jews (Sefarad) to settle there after 1492. With the expansion of the water supply under Süleiman I. The population growth accelerated and Istanbul’s population reached 400,000 in the 16th century. Before 1914, the city had around 560,000 Muslim and 350,000 non-Muslim (mainly Greeks and Armenians) residents. Severe earthquakes (including 1509, 1894) and wildfires (including 1631, 1865) hit the city, but did not stop its growth.

The city of Istanbul in the 16th century

In one of the earliest printed German travel reports about Turkey, “Ein newe Reyßbeschreibung aus Teutschland nach Constantinopel und Jerusalem” (1608), the Protestant preacher Salomon Schweigger * describes himself not only for the present but also for the history of the City interested, various buildings from pre-Turkish times:

At the end of the city, towards the decline, is the fort for seven doors, as they are called “Jedicola” in Turkish. The same is best kept with moors and gates, but without a crew. There is an old, experienced and well-deserved captain in it with quite a few janissaries. The king of Timis [Tunis] is also involved in it, he goes unmarried, but no further than the gate. So how it came about, I didn’t like to find out. The Türck is said to have kept his best treasure of gold and silver in this fort.

This building, item St. Sophia and the Palatium Constantini and the mint are all that remains of the old buildings – from which shards can be removed, like the port [earthen pot] must have been – as well as many old churches and chapels. The Palatium Constantini is a tall, square building of workpieces [hewn stones], inside it has no rooms then only sticking hülzine hurdles around the four walls, on which the captured Christians have their beds. So the mint – in which asperes and sultanas or ducats are struck – is a pretty big, high and wide house, bricked from work pieces to under the roof, inside there are no rooms, then only the workshops of the minters. The mint master and his servants are all Greek.

*) Salomon Schweigger (* 1551, † 1622) stayed from 1578 to 1581 in the entourage of the Austrian ambassador Joachim Freiherr von Sintzendorff at the court of the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul.

Schweigger: To the court of the Turkish Sultan, edited and edited by H. Stein (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1986), page 133 f.

In the 19th century, Constantinople with the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits became a strategically important object of contention for the major European powers and a target of Great Greek national aspirations. Occupied by the Allies after the First World War 1918–23, it lost its capital city role, which it had claimed for centuries, to Ankara in 1923, but retained its cultural and economic importance (since 1950 the population has increased dramatically due to immigration from Anatolia).

Terrorist attacks in 2016 and 2017 On January 12, 2016, the terrorist attack by a suicide bomber allegedly committed the Islamic State was one of the victims, twelve tourists from Germany and one tourist from Peru. The deed happened near the obelisk in the city’s historic district. Another suicide attack occurred on March 19, 2016 on the İstiklâl Caddesi shopping street. In addition to the assassin, 4 other people were killed. Here, too, the perpetrator was allegedly a member of the Islamic State. On June 7, 2016, 11 people were killed in a suicide attack on a police bus in the city center. The Freedom Falcons of Kurdistan (Teyrêbazên Azadîya Kurdistan; TAK) claimed responsibility for the attack. An attack by three suicide bombers on Ataturk Airport claimed over 40 lives on June 28, 2016. The security authorities suspected the Islamic State was behind the attacks. Over 300 people were killed in the four attacks. T. seriously injured. A car bomb explosion and a suicide bomber attacked at least 44 people, including 36 police officers, near the Beşiktaş football stadium on December 10, 2016. Over 150 people suffered injuries. The TAK also committed itself to this attack. On January 1, 2017, at least 39 people were killed in a terrorist attack on a New Year’s Eve party in the Reina nightclub on the Bosphorus. There were numerous injuries. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. On January 1, 2017, at least 39 people were killed in a terrorist attack on a New Year’s Eve party in the Reina nightclub on the Bosphorus. There were numerous injuries. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. On January 1, 2017, at least 39 people were killed in a terrorist attack on a New Year’s Eve party in the Reina nightclub on the Bosphorus. There were numerous injuries. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

History of Istanbul, Turkey