; Istanbul Istanbul By Supervision 1 Istanbul Istanbul Turkish İstanbul historically also
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Istanbul Istanbul By Supervision 1 Istanbul Istanbul Turkish İstanbul historically also


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Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul, historically also known as Byzantium and Constantinople;[4] see the names of
Istanbul) is the largest city in Turkey and fifth largest city proper in the world with a population of 12.8
million.[1] Istanbul is also a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. The city
covers 39 districts of the Istanbul province.[5] It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural
harbour known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace)
and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is
situated on two continents.
In its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Eastern Roman
(Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire
(1453–1922). The city was chosen as joint European Capital of Culture for 2010. The historic areas of Istanbul
were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.[6]

Byzantium (Greek: Βυζάντιον, Byzántion; Latin: BYZANTIVM) is the first known name of the city. Around
660 BC, settlers from the city-state of Megara founded a Doric colony on the present-day Istanbul, and named
the new colony after their king, Byzas.[7][8] After Roman Emperor Constantine I (Constantine the Great) made
the city the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire in 330 AD, the city became widely known as
Constantinopolis (the Latinised form of "Κωνσταντινούπολις" [Kōnstantinoúpolis]), which means the "City of
Constantine"; his successor, Constantius II, attempted to promote the name Nova Roma ("New Rome"), but this
never caught on. The name Constantinople is found on commemorative coins as early as the 330s, and is first
attested in official documents under Emperor Theodosius II (408–450).[9] It remained the principal official
name of the city throughout the Byzantine period, and the most common name used for it in the West until the
early 20th century.

The modern Turkish name İstanbul (Turkish pronunciation: [isˈtanbuɫ], colloquially [ɯsˈtambuɫ]) has been

used to describe the city, in a range of different variants, from as far back as the 10th century.[10]

Etymologically, it derives from the Medieval Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" [is tin ˈpolin] or, in the Aegean

dialect, "εἰς τὰν Πόλιν" [is tan ˈpolin] (Modern Greek "στην Πόλη" [stin ˈpoli]), which means "in the city" or

"to the city".[10][11] In modern Turkish, the name is written "İstanbul", with a dotted İ. (In the Turkish alphabet,
dotted i—with capital İ—is a different letter from dotless ı—with capital I.) Also, while in English the stress is
on the first syllable ("Is"), in Turkish it is on the second syllable ("tan"). Before the creation of modern Turkish
in the 1930s, English-speaking sources and other western sources used Stamboul to describe the central parts on
the historic peninsula between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara.[12] With the Turkish Postal Service
Law of 28 March 1930, the Turkish authorities officially requested foreigners to adopt Istanbul as the sole name
also in their own languages.[13]

The city has also been nicknamed "The City on Seven Hills" because the historic peninsula, the oldest part of
the city, was built on seven hills (just like Rome), each of which bears a historic mosque.[14] The hills are
represented in the city's emblem with seven triangles, above which rise four minarets. Two of many other old
nicknames of İstanbul are Vasilevousa Polis (the Queen of Cities) (Greek: Βασιλεύουσα from the verb
βασιλεύω = reign), which arose from the city's importance and wealth throughout the Middle Ages; and
Dersaadet, originally Der-i Saadet (the Door to Happiness) which was first used towards the end of 19th
century and is still remembered today.

In 2008, during the construction works of the Yenikapı subway station and the Marmaray tunnel at the historic
peninsula on the European side, a previously unknown Neolithic settlement dating from circa 6700 BC was
discovered.[15][16][17] The first human settlement on the Anatolian side, the Fikirtepe mound, is from the Copper
Age period, with artifacts dating from 5500–3500 BC.[18] In nearby Kadıköy (Chalcedon) a port settlement
dating back to the Phoenicians has been discovered. Cape Moda in Chalcedon was the first location which the
Greek settlers from Megara chose to colonise in 685 BC, prior to colonising Byzantion on the European side of
the Bosphorus under the command of King Byzas in 667 BC. Byzantion was established on the site of an
ancient port settlement named Lygos, founded by Thracian tribes between the 13th and 11th centuries BC,
along with the neighbouring Semistra,[19] of which Pliny had mentioned in his historical accounts. Only a few
walls and substructures belonging to Lygos have survived to date, near the Seraglio Point (Turkish:
Sarayburnu), where the famous Topkapı Palace now stands. During the period of Byzantion, the Acropolis used
to stand where the Topkapı Palace stands today.
After siding with Pescennius Niger against the victorious Roman emperor Septimius Severus, the city was
besieged by the Romans and suffered extensive damage in 196 AD. Byzantium was rebuilt by Severus and
quickly regained its previous prosperity, being temporarily renamed as Augusta Antonina by the emperor, in
honour of his son.[20]
The location of Byzantium attracted Constantine I in 324 after a prophetic dream was said to have identified the
location of the city; but the true reason behind this prophecy was probably Constantine's final victory over
Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) on the Bosphorus, on 18 September 324, which ended the civil
war between the Roman Co-Emperors, and brought an end to the final vestiges of the Tetrarchy system, during
which Nicomedia (present-day İzmit, 100 km (62 mi) east of Istanbul) was the most senior Roman capital
city.[21] Byzantium (now renamed as Nova Roma which eventually became Constantinopolis, i.e. "The City of
Constantine") was officially proclaimed the new capital of the Roman Empire six years later, in 330. Following
the death of Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent partition of the Roman Empire between his two sons,
Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. As well as being the centre of an
imperial dynasty, the unique position of Constantinople at the centre of two continents made the city a magnet
for international commerce, culture and diplomacy. The Byzantine Empire was distinctly Greek in culture and
became the centre of Greek Orthodox Christianity, while its capital was adorned with many magnificent

churches, including the Hagia Sophia, once the world's largest cathedral.[22] The seat of the Patriarch of
Constantinople, spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, still remains in the Fener (Phanar) district of
In 1204, the Fourth Crusade was launched to capture Jerusalem, but had instead turned on Constantinople,
which was sacked and desecrated.[24] The city subsequently became the centre of the Catholic Latin Empire,
created by the crusaders to replace the Orthodox Byzantine Empire, which was divided into a number of
splinter states, of which the Empire of Nicaea was to recapture Constantinople in 1261 under the command of
Michael VIII Palaeologus.
In the last decades of the Byzantine Empire, the city had decayed as the Byzantine state became increasingly
isolated and financially bankrupt, its population had dwindled to some thirty or forty thousand people whilst
large sections remained uninhabited.[25] Due to the ever increasing inward turn the Byzantines took, many
facets of their surrounding empire were now falling apart, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Ottoman Turks
began a strategy by which they took selected towns and smaller cities over time, enveloping Bursa in 1326,
İzmit (Nicomedia) in 1337, Gelibolu (Gallipoli) in 1354, and finally Edirne (Adrianople) in 1362. This
essentially cut off Constantinople from its main supply routes, strangling it slowly.[26

Satellite view of Istanbul and the Bosporus strait which connects the Black Sea at north with the Sea of
Marmara at south.
Istanbul is located in the north-west Marmara Region of Turkey. It encloses the southern Bosporus which
places the city on two continents—the western portion of Istanbul is in Europe, while the eastern portion is in
Asia. The city boundaries cover a surface area of 1,830.93 square kilometres (707 sq mi), while the
metropolitan region, or the Province of Istanbul, covers 6,220 square kilometres (2,402 sq mi).

Istanbul is situated near the North Anatolian fault, which runs from northern Anatolia to the Marmara Sea. Two
tectonic plates, the African and the Eurasian, push against each other here. This fault zone has been responsible
for several deadly earthquakes in the region throughout history. In 1509 a catastrophic earthquake caused a
tsunami which broke over the sea-walls of the city, destroying over 100 mosques and killing 10,000 people. In
1766 the Eyüp Sultan Mosque was largely destroyed. The 1894 earthquake caused the collapse of many parts of
the Grand Bazaar. A devastating earthquake on 17 August 1999, with its epicentre in nearby İzmit, left 18,000
dead and many more homeless.[30] In all of these earthquakes, the devastating effects are a result of the building
density and poor construction of buildings. Seismologists predict another earthquake, possibly measuring
magnitude 7.0, occurring before 2025.[31]


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