The History of Istanbul

The history of the city, which has been inhabited since the Stone Age, begins to shape by the name of Byzantium, the city of the Greek colonies. Between 67 and 79 BC, the Emperor Vespasian seized Byzantium and annexed the city to the Roman Empire. With the declaration of the great Constantine in 330 BC, the city became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. The city took the name of Constantinople and became an extremely powerful city.

During the reign of Theodosius II. between 408 and 450, new walls were built around the city. They are partly still standing today. Emperor Justinian built the iconic church of Constantinople, Hagia Sophia.

Sultan II. Mehmed conquered the city in the year of 1453. Then, Constantinople was renamed as “Istanbul”.

Istanbul had been the capital city of the Ottoman Empire for 450 years. Thus, it was furnished with Islamic culture and acquired a new silhouette with new buildings and monuments.

Istanbul-Hagia Sophia

Cultural Characteristics of Istanbul

Istanbul is Turkey’s most developed and populated city. It has now become a megapol rather than a metropolis. From the past to the present day, Istanbul has embraced lots of different civilizations. Diverse cultures still coexist harmonically even today. Therefore, Istanbul is going further from the cultural point of view day by day.

The cultural characteristics of Istanbul do not end with counting. It has a lot of cultural features such as mosques, churches, palaces, museums, islands, beaches, bazaars, restaurants and taverns.

Let’s address some of these features shortly. Traditional Turkish restaurants in Istanbul are beyond number. However, apart from these restaurants, the Far East and European cuisine are also very common. There are many historical bars, taverns and restaurants in Cicek Passage which opened in 1876. Besides, fish restaurants are among the indispensable parts of Istanbul.


There are two bazaars that are of great interest to tourists. These are the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar (i.e. Spice Bazaar). Historical buildings in Istanbul such as Topkapi Palace, Yedikule Palace, Istanbul Bosphorus, Rumeli Fortress, Gulhane Park, Golden Horn, Istanbul Walls and Dolmabahce Palace are unequaled attractions.

Turkish baths feature as a privilege for Istanbul travelers. Apart from these, Taksim Avenue and Istiklal Street in Beyoglu district constitute a major part of the characteristics of Istanbul.


Must-See Museums in Istanbul

Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul Naval Museum, Tanzimat Museum, Journalist Society Press Museum, Istanbul Archaeological Museum and Hagia Sophia Museum (Sacred Wisdom) are among the foremost museums of Istanbul and the world history as well. Read our article for the details.

History & Culture
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