History of Istanbul

With more than 8,500 years of history, Istanbul has always been one of the most well-beloved cities in the world. And, what makes Istanbul so precious? Because Istanbul is a bridge between Europe and Asia, it was desired to be conquered so many times by different empires. At the very beginning, it was called in the name of the emperor Constantine I. Constantinople, and for many years, Istanbul had been under the control of the Roman Empire. Istanbul city, for which wars battled, became the capital of 3 glorious empires: The Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. 

To know about Istanbul is to know about its unique history and culture. As you discover the city, you will realize that there is more to find out about Istanbul because it is a massive place where hidden traces left by different nationalities and religions are. Without knowing about the history of this city, one cannot feel the spirit of the city. Therefore, it is better to know about Istanbul before your visit. During your trip to Istanbul, some general information will help you understand the historical background of some tourist attractions, and it is going to be fun to know about Istanbul! Once you step into Istanbul, you should know every step of yours since it’s very likely to meet something new and unique about Istanbul in each step! 

Have General Information About Istanbul

Istanbul bears many traces of different cultures, empires, and religions. Therefore, it is very likely to come across a mosque neighboring a church! Throughout history, Istanbul has been a place where people from different nationalities, ethnicity, cultures, and religions live together. It’s something great about Istanbul welcoming all people around the world; it’s so valuable that Istanbul, for many years, has been protecting its history and giving it the necessary attention. Therefore, people all around the world have a chance to experience the unique multi-culture of the city! 

Since Istanbul is a huge city, it is best to give general information. First of all, visiting the Blue Mosque of Sultanahmet has become a classic for first-time visitors. One of the well-known tourist attractions, The Blue Mosque of Sultanahmet, has particular importance in Istanbul regarding its architecture! Located in the Fatih district, which is considered the heart of Istanbul, The Blue Mosque is the unique architecture of the 17th century. It has been an essential symbol representing power since it is the first mosque to have six minarets. It stands on the top of Sultanahmet square and gazes all over the city; wherever you go, the scenery of The Blue Mosque is caught in your eyes with its all glory! It’s impossible to ignore the Blue Mosque even when you’re walking far away from it.  

Hagia Sophia is another of the most important tourist attractions in Istanbul, standing strong since 325 A.D. Constructed in the name of Constantine, the Roman emperor, it was an Orthodox church representing the power and superiority of the emperor who moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) as the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet II, conquered the city. Hagia Sophia was protected by the Ottomans; at this time, the symbol of power and superiority was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Once a worship place for Christians, it became a place for Muslims in time. Therefore, if you want to go deep to learn about Istanbul, Hagia Sophia is the best place for that. You will experience the unique architecture, which consists of some traces belonging to both Christians and Muslims! Moreover, it is the neighbor of the Blue Mosque! 

More Places to See in Istanbul

While mentioning the heart of Istanbul, which is full of so many historical structures with fine architecture, it is an honor to talk about Topkapı Palace, one of Istanbul’s best and most visited sights. Topkapı Palace, standing next to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, was the seat of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire and had served for 400 years! It’s a colossal palace covering 700.000 square! There, you will be visiting the chambers of Sultans, the Harem, the tulip garden, and you can visit the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum. 

How about moving on to Taksim? Walk through Galata Bridge from Sultanahmet Square and go for Galata Tower, another tourist attraction in Istanbul! Go up and take the most beautiful photos of the city! Do not forget to hear the tale of Galata during your visit! After you are done in Galata Tower, start discovering the side streets of İstiklal Avenue since so many attractions are hiding inside the streets! While wandering around, have some general information about İstiklal Avenue and its hidden treasures. Saint Antoine Church, located on İstiklal Street, is the largest Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul. Constructed in Gothic style, Saint Antoine’s Church’s red bricks have all the attention in İstiklal! 

Besides churches and mosques, there are a lot of tourist attractions to learn about Istanbul. One of them is the Atlas Cinema Museum in Atlas Passage, İstiklal. Before your trip to Atlas Cinema Museum, learn some general information about it. Atlas Passage was built in 1877 for the Armenian Catholic Banker, Agop Köçeoğlu. It hosts the famous Atlas Cinema! The Museum plays a vital role since it represents the city’s spirit. 

Another tourist attraction is Flower Passage in İstiklal. General information about Flower passage is that it was initially a theater in the 1800s. After a fire, it was converted into a place consisting of posh shops. People were coming to this passage to sell flowers. That’s why it’s named Flower Passage. Process of time, the shops became traditional Turkish meyhanes. Visit the flower passage and taste Turkish cuisine in Turkish meyhanes; you will enjoy it!


Frequently Asked Question

What was the name of Istanbul before?
The name of Istanbul before its current name was Constantinople.
Where should I definitely see in Istanbul?
If you are visiting Istanbul, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace are must-see attractions.
Which area has the most tourist attractions in Istanbul?
The Sultanahmet area has the most important historical attractions in the city.
Where is Sultanahmet in Istanbul?
Sultanahmet is located in the middle of Fatih district on Asian side.
What are the famous passages in Istanbul?
The two most famous passages are the flower passage and Atlas passage in Istanbul.