Istanbul, sprawled across two continents connected by two slender bridges, and former capital of two great empires, leads a dual life, both ancient and modern. The narrow streets of the Sultanahmet district with its ancient Christian and Islamic monuments eventually lead to regions populated with tall office buildings and modern shops.
First named Byzantium, the city was renamed Constantinople by Roman Emperor Constantine, who moved the capital here in 330 AD. The Roman Empire evolved into the Byzantine Empire, profoundly influenced by the area’s Greek–speaking inhabitants. The Byzantine Empire reigned for over a thousand years until the Ottoman Turks, originally from Central Asia, conquered Constantinople in 1453 and renamed the city yet again.
PUBLISHED: July 22, 2013