A soldier and national leader Napoleon Bonaparte once said “If the world was only one country, Istanbul would be the capital of it’’ and the French man of letters Alponse de Lamartine reflected h admiration to the city by saying “If you would only have one chance of looking at the world, look at it from lstanbul”. Let me, as a local blogger who travels the world and lives in lstanbul, inform you about my city’s essence, genes, history, life style.
Life started thousands of years ago in this unique place, tens of civilisations were established, countless people have lived, new civilisations attached their cultures on the previous one and we came to these days, Although the city’s history goes way back, it is possible to divide it to the Roman and Byzantine Period, Ottoman Period and Republic period.
The Roman period embodies the time between BC196 and AC 395. After the city was conquered by the Romanian I. Constantine in AC 330, the name was changed into Constantinople in AC 337 which remained for a long time and it became the country’s capital country which transferred to the Byzantine Empire in AC.395. Many artefacts were made which still remains such as; the biggest cathedral of the period Hagia Sophia Church, Blue Mosque Square, Topkapı Palace Square historic artefacts, hammams and various kinds of sculptures. The city which had attacks from Avars, Sasanians, Arabs, Russians and Bulgars and Latin irruptions, was possessed by Turks in AC.1453 by the Ottoman Sultan ll. Mehmet and had the name Istanbul and become the capital of Ottoman Empire.
Many permanent artefacts were also made at the time of Ottomans in the city. Topkapı Palace, Grand Bazaar and many artefacts made by the talented architecture of the period Mimar Sinan (Sinan the Architect) have lived till today.
After the Republic was established in 1923, the capital city became Ankara, however, Istanbul continued to be the capital of trade, culture art, sports and press and have also become the financial centre of the Country.
The city improves very quickly with the effects of its charm and also rapid investments are made for public transportation. The traffic problem many of the metropolis cities in the world suffer from also happens in Istanbul however, it can easily be arrived to the touristic and historical places from airports and centre bus stations with integrated transit systems. The Bosporus Bridge being made and the big airport will also ease the transportation system.
Istanbul has always been a city which attracts people with its unique nature and beauties thanks to its liveliness and its location from North to the South East to the West. The attraction point of the city revolves around the glorious surrounding of the Bosporus, historic island stiklal Street and also waits for its guests at the Anatolian side and Prince Islands.
The city has transferred into a metropolis with the population growth from the Anatolian side to the European side which shadow the modern life and skyscraper with the nature and history of it. But it is very interesting that although the city is very crowded, has colourful cultures and is alive day and night, it also has a quietness that never tires people contrary to its similarities.
Istanbul as one the cities of the old continent, has always been one of the places to visit for travellers and it sometime has opened its arms for refugees from genocides, revolutions or battles or exiles like Trotsky to live safely.
The city which is used to the different cultures, religions and denominations living together, has enriched its cosmopolitan frame and culture when flooded by immigrants from all around the Balkans, Caucasus and Ottoman from the beginning of the 19. Century after the Ottoman period terminated as a result of wars. This richness has reflected to the city’s cuisine and a perfect world cuisine that appeals to everyone has been revealed.
In this glorious city which has been an inspiration for poets and has many songs written about it and which has reflected on the canvas of the painters with its beauty; you can live the beauty of four seasons and find some things that appeal to every culture, belief, pleasure and style.
by ZAFER ÇAKIRTAŞ