Istanbul: Its History and Culture
Istanbul is both an ancient and modern city that is full of culture dating back to the beginning of time. It’s a city that is unique, in that, it connects both Europe and Asia. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the most crowded one too. There are approximately more than fourteen million people living in Istanbul alone. That is more than its capital city of Ankara. Istanbul is not just a metropolitan, or one of the most crowded cities, and it’s also an ancient and historical city.
The city of Istanbul was originally known as Constantinople back in the time of the Byzantine Empire Days. Then, in 1453, Constantinople became part of Ottoman Empire and over the years, the name of the city was changed to Istanbul. Since both empires occupied Istanbul at one point, its leaders brought over many rich and diverse cultures, ideas, and many architectural designs. This beautiful city is separated by the Bosphorus Strait which is the main waterway connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, that separates Europe from Asia.
Istanbul is primarily known for its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture which can be seen all throughout the city. Its buildings and structures reflect the various peoples, cultures and empires that once have previously ruled the city. Istanbul is even much older than the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire surfaced around 324 AD - 1453. For this reason, there are lots of historical museums which stores unique artifacts dating back to the Byzantine era, many churches and historical buildings can be seen throughout the city. It also has many beautiful and historical palaces that can be visited by native countrymen and tourists alike. Visiting and touring these palaces allows you to experience the great culture up close.
For example, if one was to visit “Topkapi Palace”. It used to be the heart of Ottoman Empire, it’s where the Pasha’s (kings) lived, one can see the mosques, such as “Sultanahmet” known as “Blue Mosque” and churches all have a different and interesting story behind them. The diversity amongst them is awe inspiring, the landscapes that they are built upon are so rich and beautifully detailed that it’s mind boggling as to how those details were placed when materials and technology was so scarce.
Although, Istanbul has numerous mosques, museums, and historical palaces that are clearly visible throughout the city, that alone doesn’t do justice to the mixture of cultures that can be found within the city. While the majority of the population is Muslim, the city does have Catholics and Christians. That’s what truly makes this a unique city. A mixture of various cultures brought over from the Byzantines and Spaniards many years ago, and can all be fused together in one place to create this one of a kind city known as Istanbul.
Turkish culture is apparent anywhere you look. The sights and sounds are not the only...