Cultural capital of Turkey, Istanbul is both the nearest Asian city to Europe and the nearest European city to Asia. It is a huge metropolis connecting continents, cultures, religions and being home to more than eighteen million people; and one of the greatest business and cultural centers of the world.
General acceptance, Asian side of Istanbul was inhabited by people 3000 BC. However, within the construction works of Marmaray tunnel at the Yenikapi in 2008, an unknown Neolithic settlement dating from circa 6500 BC has been discovered. In addition, the first human settlement of Istanbul dating back to 7th BC. Under the command of King Byzas, the city was established by Megarian-which the Greek colonists - on the Anatlion side in Cape Moda in Chalcedon (Kadikoy). The king gave his name to city: Byzantium.
Byzantium had been an important center of trade and commerce along next thousand years. In the early 100 BC, Byzantium became part of the Roman province of Asia. In 305 AD, Licinius and Constantine fought for control of the empire Constantine defeated his rival on the hills above Chrysopolis (Uskudar) and made Byzantium capital of the entire Roman Empire. Hereafter, the city was called as Constantinople.
In 395, at the same time of the division of the Roman Empire, Constantinople remained as capital of the eastern part of the empire, also called the Byzantine Empire. After a while, Byzantine Empire dissociationed itself Rome. In addition, it adopted the Greek language and Christianity. During the reign of Justinian I, the Constantinople destroyed by riots in 532 AD. However, it was rapidly rebuilt and outstanding structures such as Hagia Sophia stand as monuments to the heights Byzantine culture reached.
Dissolution years for Constantinople had begun in 7th. In 7th century, Sassanid Empire and Avars, in 8th century Bulgars and Araps and in 9th century Russians and Bulgars besieged the Constantinople. After this period, Byzantine Empire was greatly diminished in size.
While the Byzantine Empire fainted, the Ottoman Empire enlarged. In 1453, Fatih Sultan Mehmet surrounded the city. Constantinople fell after seven weeks. After the Conquest, Mehmet II began to rebuild the city. Mehmet was tolerant of other religions, and actively encouraged Greeks and Armenians to take up residence in the city. Over the next 600 years, as a magnificent city Istanbul had been the capital of Ottoman Empire.
In 1918, Ottoman Empire lost the World War I and subsequent days, all Empire occupied by Allied, including British, French and Greeks. Istanbul was under the British occupancy. In 1919, Ataturk had started the War of Independence in Anatolia and after 4 years of war, he declared of the new Turkish Republic. The new Turkey’s capital moved to the city of Ankara. However, Istanbul retained its unique value as a center of culture, economy and commerce. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, if the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital....