Historic Building

Constantinople


Historic Building - Constantinople (Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoúpolis or Κωνσταντινούπολη Konstantinoúpoli; Latin: Constantinopolis; Ottoman Turkish: قسطنطینية, Kostantiniyye‎; modern Turkish: Istanbul) was the capital city of the Roman and Byzantine (330–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin (1204–1261), and the Ottoman (1453–1922) empires. It was reinaugurated in 324 AD[1] at ancient Byzantium, as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. In the 12th century, the city was the largest and wealthiest European city and it was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times. After the loss of its territory, the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire was reduced to just its capital city and its environs, eventually falling to the Ottomans in 1453. Following the Muslim conquest, the former bastion of Christianity in the east, Constantinople, was turned into the Islamic capital of the Ottoman Empire, under which it prospered and flourished again. After the founding of the modern Republic of Turkey—the successor state of the Ottoman Empire—the city was renamed Istanbul in 1923.



Constantinople was famed for its massive defenses. Although besieged on numerous occasions by various peoples, the Byzantine city was taken only in 1204 by the Latin army of the Fourth Crusade, recovered in 1261 by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, and in 1453 conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. A first smaller wall was erected by Constantine I, which surrounded the city, prior to the construction of the Theodosian Walls, a double wall lying about 2 km (1.2 miles) to the west of the first wall, in the 5th century by Theodosius II from which the walls took their name. The city was built on seven hills as well as on the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara and thus presented an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces, domes, and towers, spanning two continents.

The city was also famed for its architectural masterpieces, such as the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived, the Galata Tower, the Hippodrome, and the Golden Gate, lining the arcaded avenues and squares. Constantinople contained numerous artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453. The city was virtually depopulated when it fell to the Ottoman Turks, but recovered rapidly, and was, by the mid-1600s, once again the world's largest city as the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.

The city was originally founded as a Greek colony under the name of Byzantium in the 7th century BC. It took on the name of Konstantinoupolis ("city of Constantine", Constantinople) after its re-foundation under Roman emperor Constantine I, who transferred the imperial capital from its historic base, Rome, to Byzantium in 330 AD and designated his new capital Nova Roma or "New Rome." The modern Turkish name for the city, İstanbul, derives from the Greek phrase eis tin polin (εις την πόλιν), meaning "into the City" or "to the City". This pattern is used for other Greek cities conquered by the Ottomans (e.g. Izmir, "eis Smyrnen"; Iznik, "eis Nikaian") This name was used in Turkish alongside Kostantiniyye, the more formal adaptation of the original Constantinople, during the period of Ottoman rule, while western languages mostly continued to refer to the city as Constantinople until the early 20th century. After the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Turkish government began to formally object to the use of Constantinople in other languages and ask that others use the name which they preferred.The name "Constantinople" is still used by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the title of one of their most important leaders, the Orthodox patriarch based in the city, referred to as "His Most Divine All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch."

Walls of Constantinople


The Walls of Constantinople are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople (today Istanbul in Turkey) since its founding as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. With numerous additions and modifications during their history, they were the last great fortification system of antiquity, and one of the most complex and elaborate systems ever built.

Initially built by Constantine the Great, the walls surrounded the new city on all sides, protecting it against attack from both sea and land. As the city grew, the famous double line of the Theodosian Walls was built in the 5th century. Although the other sections of the walls were less elaborate, when well-manned, they were almost impregnable for any medieval besieger, saving the city, and the Byzantine Empire with it, during sieges from the Avars, Arabs, Rus', and Bulgars, among others (see Sieges of Constantinople). The advent of gunpowder siege cannons rendered the fortifications vulnerable, but cannon technology was not sufficiently advanced to capture the city on its own, and the walls could be repaired between reloading. Ultimately the city fell from sheer weight of numbers of the Ottoman forces on 29 May 1453 after a six-week siege.

The walls were largely maintained intact during most of the Ottoman period, until sections began to be dismantled in the 19th century, as the city outgrew its medieval boundaries. Despite the subsequent lack of maintenance, many parts of the walls survived and are still standing today. A large-scale restoration program has been under way since the 1980s.
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