The Byzantine area in İstanbul considered to have begun in 300BC with Emperor Constantine the great announcing the city as Byzantimum and the capital of the eastern Roman Empire.
The city came to be known as Constantinople or the city of Constantine from that time.Both cities are spread across seven hills with the settlement of old İstanbul confined by the sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn.
Shortly after the city became the capital,the power of Rome shifted eastwards and Constantinople became centre for Christianity and Greek culture.During the reign of Byzantine Empire the city was adorned with many artistic and architecturel Works.Roman Temples were replaced by churches and many new churches,inc the Hagia Sophia,Which became largest building in the world for a thousand years,were built in the four corners of the city.
During Constantines Imperial rulet he city witnessed great change and development with the hippodrome,aqueducts,city walls,palaces,and squares being built.With this way the Byzantine era Constantinople became largest and wealthiest city in continental Europe.
The city became dilapidated after fourth Crusades,though 1261 marked a year of revival fort he Byzantine Empire which had already been weakened greatly.The Urban population decreased to just a hundred thousand from half a million as Byzantinum lost its previous reputation as the strongest imperial power,the vast empire had shrunk so much that it now only occupied the area of Constantinople.Soon after the city became the target of the Ottomans and the Byzantine Emperors accepted their hegemony and began to pay taxes to them.İn mid14th century the Ottomans began to capture small towns surrounding the city and shut down the supply routes that led to it.
Ottoman Empire in İstanbul
The Seljuks had become a force to be reckoned with, growing from a small principality in Anatolia to a powerful army,known as the Ottomans.They ruled over the Balkans, the area all around Costantinople and much of the remainder of the Byzantine Empire.
The fall of Constantinople can be attributed directly to the brilliance of Mehmet II, the Conqueror. In 1451, Mehmet prepared two magnificent fortresses on the Bosphorus for his invasion.Anadolu Hisari on the Asian side was strengthened, while a second fortress Rumeli Hisari on the European side, was constructed in just a few months. Together, the two fortresses guarded the narrowest section of the Bosphorus.
Mehmet meanwhile brought in master craftsmen from Europe to build huge cannons, and in May 1453 started to build up his forces around the walls of Constantinople. The Byzantines had installed massive chain links across the Golden Horn,so Mehmet took them by surprise.
He bombarded the city walls by night and stealthily transported his ships overland, from a cove behind Galata where the Dolmabahce Palace now stands, on rollers up the hill and down into the Golden Horn behind the chains. The emperor Constantine XI died fighting on the walls.
Mehmet entered the city on 29 May and immediately went to pray in theHagia Sophia, which was cleansed and declared a mosque. Many other churches were turned into mosques, although those areas which had not resisted the Ottoman forces were spared.Constantinople was renamed Istanbul,which stems from the Greek Istanopolis or to the city,and declared it the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
Mehmet began the process of transforming Istanbul into a fabulously wealthy capital.He repaired the city walls and built a new mosque,the Fatih Camii as well as Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.New districts of the city were established and seaside mansions constructed.
Under Süleyman the Magnificent (1522 – 1566),the Ottoman Empire was at its peak,extending from Vienna to the Arab peninsula and as far south as Sudan.Suleymans greatest landmark is perhaps the xquisite Suleymaniye Mosque, built in 1556.