As an amateur student of history, I was excited by the idea of visiting Istanbul – a city richer in history than most others. Formerly known as Constantinople, Istanbul has been a cultural, religious, or political centre (and sometimes all three) for thousands of years.
People have lived in the area since as far back as 7,000 BC, but it was the formal establishment of the Greek town of Byzantium around 660 BC that ushered the city into its periods of great development. By 330 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine created a new city on the site and named it after himself, calling it Constantinople.
While the Roman Empire in the west collapsed, the eastern half of the empire (based out of Constantinople) would remain for an additional thousand years. This would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire, and Constantinople would continue to serve as its capital until 1453, when the city fell to the Ottoman Turks, (who in turn would make the city their own capital of the Ottoman Empire.) This new empire would rule most of the Middle East from Constantinople for almost 500 years, until the end of World War I in 1918.
Today in Istanbul, you can still see the remnants of all the cities and capitals it’s been in its storied past. From the Hagia Sophia, to the Ottoman Topkapi Palace and modern Turkish architecture, history can be found everywhere you look in this place. It’s no wonder Istanbul is consistently one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
G Adventures runs a number of departures to Turkey encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this gorgeous country— check out our small group trips here.