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Constantinople 330-1453

Tarih: 03.01.2022 22:14 Okuma Süresi: 4 dk. 21 sn. Yazar: Cloud

Istanbul, or Constantinople… is one of the most important cities in the world thanks to its geopolitical importance. The city was founded by the emperor Constantine in 330, mainly for the reason that Rome was too unsatisfactory as a capital, since it was way too far from the war frontiers and the major trade roads. When it was founded, the main aim of the emperor was to build a new Rome in the East. Therefore, the city’s secular buildings drew earlier elements of Roman architecture. The buildings of Constantinople, however, had more geometric complexity. Mosaics replaced carved decoration and complex domes rested upon massive piers. Two building types in the city had important impacts on the architecture of the early Christian churches: the basilica and the circular temple. Hagia Sophia, built between 532-7, was the greatest achievement of the city’s architecture and it’s still standing today.

As the planning of the city, it was divided into 14 regions like Rome. In addition, it was said to be built on seven hills, just like the former capital. The important monuments of the city were built along the high spine of the city where they could be seen about everywhere. In order to stimulate private building, the emperor promised householders with gifts of land from the imperial estates in Asiana. This shows that when the city was founded, it wasn’t immediately approved as the capital of the Roman Empire. The houses of the inhabitants were built by stone and bricks.

Constantinople was a diverse city inhabited by different ethnic and religious groups. However, the central feature of the city was Orthodox Christianity. The society in the city were religious. Family was the core element of it. The people of Constantinople were the consumers of wine of all kinds. The best ones came from Bursa, Cyzikus and Nikea. Besides, Constantinople people were good eaters, since food was cheap and plentiful. The dinners had two main foods: wine and bread. They also consumed lots of olive oil. It was both used for cooking and also for the lighting of the houses.


The city of Constantine, in 1453, changed owners with a defeat. It now belonged to the Turks. One important change in the psychology of the people of Constantinople was the acceptance of a new religion in the city: Islam. As a matter of the fact, new colours were emerging in the city. Those who didn’t want to lose their wealth, especially the rich landowners, had to cooperate with the new regime. Therefore, they had to part their ways with their own culture and convert themselves into Turkic-Islamic culture. Some military men continued their career as siphahis in the new army. Not only the people, but also the religious buildings were also being converted. The majority of the churches gradually turned into mosques. As Muslim way of praying required unified space, the arrangements inside the churches were changed. Icons representing Jesus and the apostles inside the churches were covered with stucco. Hagia Sophia, the most important church, was converted into a mosque by adding a minaret next to it.

The houses were began to be built by woods. Consuming wine was no more a tradition. In 1307, the Ottoman Sultan had ordered the destruction of the vineyards that were located at Bursa and the other places to force the Byzantine farmers to leave their lands. In addition, as consuming alcohol was prohibited in Islam, wines lost their importance. However, the people kept their couisine alive and continued eating their traditional foods.

Before the conquest of the Constantinople, it was nothing like its’ golden age. The city was poor, Hagia Sophia was in ruins, and the population had declined because of the previous crusades. Thus, the first thing that Mehmed II did after the conquest was to repopulate the city. Many skilled craftsman and merchants were brought to the city from the different cities of the empire. In 1454, 4,000 families from Serbian prisoners were settled surrounding the city. Also, all the Italian families from Cafta Sanjak were brought to the city. It was like a “come back to your home” campaign that the emperor applied. In sum, under the reign of Fatih II, Constantinople was filled palaces, hostels, caravanserais, bazaars, bath houses, colleges and assumed the aspect of a flourishing and active Turkish city.


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Tags: #istanbul, #constantine, #constantinople, #today

Constantinople 330-1453
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