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By John Freely

"Surrounded by means of a garland of waters" at the slim straits of the Bosporus dividing Europe and Asia, Istanbul, previously referred to as Constantinople, has been an unequalled locus of cultural alternate considering the fact that its beginnings because the Greek colony Byzantium. In its greater than twenty-six centuries of life town has survived numerous typical and political catastrophes, overseas conquests, and dynastic upheavals, enduring brilliant adjustments in faith, language, political prestige, and identify. regardless of those onslaughts of time, a colourful neighborhood personality and spirit have abided. This attention-grabbing historical past of town from its origin to the current is a consultant for the curious tourist in addition to an evocation of an illustrious previous. additionally integrated is a entire gazetteer of all significant monuments and museums

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But Hera was not deceived and drove Io away, pursuing her with a relentless gadfly that forced her to swim this strait between Europe and Asia. Thenceforth the strait bore the name Bosphorus, or ‘Cow's Ford‘, commemorating Io, the ‘Inachean daughter, beloved of Zeus‘. The legend of Jason's search for the Golden Fleece is perhaps a folk-memory of the first Greek voyages through the strait, which expanded far to the north-east the bounds of the Hellenic oecumene, or inhabited world. Homer placed Jason's voyage a generation before the Trojan War, which both ancient and modern scholars have dated to c.

Beyazit II (1481–1512); anonymous portrait 10. Selim 1(1512–20); anonymous portrait 11. Roxelana, wife of Süleyman the Magnificent and mother of Selim II; anonymous portrait 12. Mihrimah Sultan, daughter of Süleyman and Roxelana; anonymous portrait 13. Süleyman's funeral procession; miniature in the Süleymanname of Lokman, 1579/80 14. Procession with musicians; anonymous miniature in a Surname, or Book of Festivals 15. Selim II (1566–74); miniature painting by Nigâri 16. Murat IV (1623–40); anonymous painting 17.

Because of the later fame of the imperial city, many other states claimed credit for playing some role in the foundation of Byzantium, but scholars both ancient and modern generally agree that Megara was the principal founder. The original site of Byzantium was on the First Hill, the acropolis above the Promentorium Bosphorium. The principal monuments on the First Hill are Haghia Sophia, the great church erected by Justinian; Topkapi Sarayi, the imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans for four centuries after the Turkish Conquest; and the Blue Mosque, built by Sultan Ahmet I in the early seventeenth century – three edifices spanning more than a thousand years in the history of the imperial city.

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