History of Istanbul

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Byzantine Constantinople-de.svg
History of Istanbul

The history of Istanbul is enough thanks to recent archaeological excavations considerably further back, was adopted as yet. In addition to 400,000 year old artefacts , there were Mesolithic , Neolithic , Copper Age and, most recently, Iron Age- Hittite traces. Later Thracians settled here .

Founded as the Greek city of Byzantium , the city rose to become an important trading center and finally, under the name of Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman-Byzantine Empire . In the Middle Ages it was the only cosmopolitan city in Europe, and after the Ottoman conquest it became the largest metropolis in Europe again.

Even after it lost the status of the capital in 1923 and pogroms drove the Greeks and Armenians out in the 1950s , the city was able to recover and is now the economic and cultural center of the region that extends far beyond Turkey, but at the same time it is the focus of all essentials social conflicts.


Artifacts from Yarımburgaz Mağarası (Başakşehir) in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum

On the northern edge of the lagoon of Küçükçekmece , a district of Istanbul around 23 km west of the city center, around 1,600 Stone Age artifacts were found in the Yarımburgaz caves (Yarımburgaz Mağarası), the oldest of which were dated around 400,000 years ago. Probably Homo erectus first inhabited the cave, no human remains have been found. The cave was used for a very long time, so its findings date back to between 6200 and 5500 BC. In the oldest layers there were no hand axes and no evidence of the Levallois technique , instead a few choppers and large quantities of small blades with retouching could be recovered. Mostly flint was used, but also quartz and quartzite . Overall, the archaeological industry is similar to that of the Rodia and Doumbia caves in Thessaly and Macedonia . These finds already indicate the great importance of the region, but so far only a few studies have been carried out.

The lagoon of Küçükçekmece was a lake until historical times, the rising sea level after the last ice age filled today's Marmara Sea , so that the lake became a bay; however, this blocked off alluvial sand from the sea, so that a lagoon was created. Despite these geological changes, the living conditions there remained favorable. On the banks of the two most important tributaries, Eskinoz and Saslidere , the remains of several settlements were found. Ceramic finds could be assigned to the pre-ceramic Neolithic B in 2007 , making them the first finds of this younger stage of the akeramischen epoch of the Neolithic in the Istanbul area. A settlement was also found on the west bank of the lake. The inhabitants of the caves apparently came to the lake to hunt, work hides or make tools. In the area of Silivri , which still belongs to Istanbul, traces of settlement were also found in Selimpasa Höyük . Furthermore, a cave called Aylapinari was found on information from residents of the place Danamandira. Remnants of buildings and Neolithic and Copper Age traces were found there, such as presumably Iron Age tumuli and remains of buildings carved out of the rock, as well as remains of a large settlement. In 2007, ceramics were also found in a cave near neighboring Yaylacik .

Until 2011, only three sites from around 8,500 BP were known in southern Thrace, namely Hoca Çeşme, Hamaylitarla and Kaynarca. But in that year paleolithic finds, for example at Üçdutlar, which date back to the Paleolithic, were found on the Gallipoli Peninsula, a 2.5 hectare, pre-lithic settlement.

In Fikirtepe near Kadıköy , only emergency excavations could be carried out in the 1950s, which, however, demonstrated the presence of fishermen and hunters with their oval and rectangular houses made of clay wicker, as well as with incised ceramics. The place gave the Fikirtepe culture with the main localities Fikirtepe, Pendik , Ihpinar (near İznik , 5200 to 4800 BC) and Mentese , the name. The late Neolithic pottery from Fikirtepe found widespread use, westwards to Thessaly.

Finds from the Neolithic near today's Istanbul district of Kadıköy - formerly Kalchedon - and from the Bronze Age in the district of Sultanahmet show that the banks of the Bosporus were also populated very early. However, the sea level was 8–9,000 cal BP 6 m lower than today. Therefore, at best, underwater archeology can still provide information on the coastal settlements. Around 6800 to 7000 cal BP the sea level rose sharply, so that the Lykos disappeared and there was only one bay at its mouth. After about 3000 cal BP the coast reached about the current course.

In 2008 stone house foundations were discovered at a depth of 6 m during the construction of the Marmaray express train system in the former port of Yenikapı. The excavators found four graves with skeletons and offerings that date from between 6400 and 6200 BC. Could be dated.

The oldest traces in the area of ​​the Istanbul core city come from the late Copper Age, i.e. from the period between 4500 and 3500 BC. As early as the 1920s and 1942, when working on the hippodrome , broken pieces were found, but it was not until 1987 that their age could be determined.

In 2013 iron-made figurines of gods and goddesses were found at the Küçükçekmece lagoon in the west of the city. These were found by the excavator Şengül Aydıngün to the 17th to 15th centuries BC. Dated. Thus they come from the early Hittite period and at the same time represent the first indications of the presence of Hittites in Europe. The female figurine is 5.4 cm high and weighs 14 g, the male figurine is 6.1 cm high and weighs 11 g. In addition, there were finds made of bitumen, ceramics and tin, which also point to northern Mesopotamia, and which were made around 1800 BC. BC originated. This has significantly reduced the time gap that has existed in research into Istanbul's prehistory. Other finds come from the other end of this gap: 301 vessels of holy water ( unguentarium ) as well as perfume and pomade bottles dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Come from BC.

In Çarşıkapı one found what is probably the oldest vessel made in the city; it came from the 7th century BC. The Thracians probably owned a settlement here called Lygos, which was taken over by Greek colonists. A wine jug from the early 6th century may already be related to the Greek settlement of the 7th century. Remains of Lygos were discovered during the construction of the railway in 1871 and 1925.

Greeks (from 7th century BC)

Colony of the Greek city of Megara

This strait was already of decisive importance for the Greeks. The ships that supplied Athens and other poles with grain from the Black Sea region passed here . To secure this strategically important point, which is at the same time a key point of the land connection from Europe to Asia as well as the sea route from the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea, Megarian settlers around 685 BC. Founded the first colony on the Asian side of the Bosporus: Kalchedon ( Greek : Καλχηδών), on the site of today's Kadıköy .

In the area on the European side, already settled by Thracians , it happened around 660 BC. A second city was founded by Megarians, together with colonists from Argos and Corinth . The Thracian name of the new settlement, Byzantion (Greek: Βυζάντιον), was later interpreted as the city of the legendary leader, Byzas from Megara. The new foundation, the area of ​​which roughly corresponded to that of the Topkapi Seraglio in today's Istanbul district of Eminönü, was located on the eastern tip of a peninsula bordering north to the Golden Horn and south to the Sea of ​​Marmara . Since this place was much more suitable for founding a city, Kalchedon was from then on considered the "city of the blind" because its residents preferred the uglier place to a more beautiful one. According to legend, Byzas received the answer from the oracle of Delphi that he should settle opposite the "city of the blind".

Between the Greeks and the Persian Empire (512 to 336 BC)

Due to their location, the two cities were affected by almost all wars that took place in the Greco-Asia Minor region in the centuries that followed. 512 BC The Persian king Dareios I conquered the city. During the Ionian Uprising , both cities were besieged and captured by the Persians , whereupon parts of the population moved to other Greek Black Sea colonies such as Mesembria , which was also founded by Megara . After the (from the Persian point of view) unsuccessful campaigns against Greece, Byzantion became oligarchic . 478 BC It was taken by the Spartan Pausanias . This ruled there for two years, but was then driven out by the population. Byzantium had had democracy as its form of government since 476 .

Both Kalchedon and Byzantion were members of the Attic-Delian League , the latter with a very high tribute. 411 BC After a conflict with Samos both of them converted to the Peloponnesian League , but as early as 409 both cities were recaptured by Alcibiades for the Attic-Delian League . From 387 Kalchedon was under Persian rule, but in 357 it was liberated from Byzantion from the Persians. In the following year Byzantion left the now weakened Attic League.

Macedonians, Seleucids, Romans

340/339 BC BC the Macedonian king Philip II besieged Byzantion in vain; he built a first bridge over the Golden Horn for his troops.

After Alexander the Great, who had conquered the Persian Empire at the head of his Macedonian troops, 323 BC. When he died, his empire fell apart in a tough power struggle. Kalchedon was founded in 315 BC. Besieged by Zipoites , who lived from 328 to 280 BC. BC was ruler of Bithynia, but Antigonus Monophthalmos dissolved the siege, who as one of the most important diadochi demanded the royal crown for the entire Alexander Empire. In 302/301 the siege was successful, and Byzantion brokered peace. 281 BC Both cities entered the anti-Seleucid alliance.

220 BC There was an economic war of Byzantion against Rhodes . In the wars against Philip V , Antiochus III. and Perseus both cities sided with the Romans , 202 BC. However, Kalchedon was conquered by Philip V. 196 BC BC the Roman declaration of freedom came, Byzantion became "civitas libera et foederata".

Roman Empire

Under Vespasian Byzantium (Latinized Byzantium ) was incorporated into the Roman Empire. After the city was founded in the 4th century BC. BC had experienced an economic boom through the control of sea trade, its growth was slowed down by the tax liability towards the Roman governor.

Septimius Severus had the city besieged and destroyed in the winter of 195 on 196 as punishment for supporting his rival Pescennius Niger . He deprived Byzantion of the rights of a city and subordinated it to Perinthos (now Marmara Ereğlisi ) on the northern edge of the Marmara Sea.

However, at the intercession of Caracalla , Byzantion was rebuilt. In 258 Byzantium and Kalchedon were plundered and destroyed by the Goths . In 284 Diocletian had himself proclaimed emperor in the neighboring Nicomedia (Izmit).

In 324 the city was affected by the fighting between Constantine and Licinius . Constantine had defeated his rival at Adrianople (Edirne), whereupon Licinius entrenched himself in Byzantion. On September 18, 324 there was a battle near Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) , which Constantine won.

Late antiquity and the Byzantine period

Byzantine Constantinople
The imperial district

New Rome, City of Constantine (from 330)

Because of the growing importance of the eastern half of the empire, Byzantium was planned by Emperor Constantine I in 324 as the new capital, as "New Rome" ( Latin : Nova Roma ), and six years later, on May 11, 330 - according to the Hellenistic model after the Founder named - as Constantinopolis (Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις "City of Constantine") inaugurated. Following the example of Romulus , the emperor walked around the new city walls with a plow, fixing an area of ​​6.5 km². That was 3.5 times the original area. Like the example of Rome , the city was built on seven hills.

The political and secular institutions of the old capital were also imitated in detail. Constantinople received a capitol , a hippodrome for 100,000 spectators, a forum ( Forum Constantini ) and a main traffic axis in an east-west direction ( Mese ). Constantinople was planned as the center of administration, economy and culture of an empire. As a result of its central position, Constantinople also became the ecclesiastical center. The city's bishop, who traced his office back to the apostle Andrew , was patriarch from 451 and claimed a prominent position among the bishops. The previous building of today's Irenenkirche , which burned down in 532 , probably served as the episcopal church of Constantinopolis.

The city was no longer subject to a provincial administration, but to a senate and a proconsul. When Constantine died, the city was a huge building site with perhaps 20,000 inhabitants. The church buildings, which are often ascribed to Constantine, were only built under his successors. In addition to new buildings, at least twenty cities were encouraged to contribute significant sculptures or columns, such as B. Delphi , where the serpent pillar came from.

The thermal baths named after him were built under Constantius (337–361), and an aqueduct, the Valens Aqueduct , which was completed in 378 under Emperor Valens , was started. In 356, again in 370, the Apostle Church was consecrated, in 360 the predecessor of Hagia Sophia . Its second predecessor was built after 407. The population increased rapidly, but was far behind the metropolises like Alexandria or Antioch .

The first emperor, who mainly resided in Constantinople, was Theodosius I (379–395). He called the 2nd Ecumenical Council, which was also the first in Constantinople . It gave the bishop of his capital priority over all bishops of the Eastern Empire. The emperor had a forum built (at today's Beyazit-Platz), the partially preserved Arch of Theodosius celebrates its victories over the Goths . In 391/92 he forbade visiting pagan temples and pagan sacrifices. In 390 an obelisk from Karnak was installed in the Hippodrome , and a second was added to catch up with the Circus Maximus in Rome. In 2008 the port from the 4th century was found in Aksaray . More than thirty ships have been excavated, including Byzantine dromons from the 10th or 11th centuries.

Expansion of the urban area, population growth

The expansion of Constantinople could only take place to the west due to its location. About 500 meters west of the built by Constantine city wall was 412 under Emperor Theodosius II. A new, partially preserved today wall built, and so the area of the city from 6 to 12 km² doubled. The population of Constantinople grew rapidly and, to a certain extent, against the will of the rulers. But even immigration restrictions were unable to prevent this. At the time of Constantine, for example, 20,000 inhabitants are expected, at the end of the 4th century already 90,000 and in the middle of the 5th century around 200,000 inhabitants. The more recent estimates, which can only be approximate values, fluctuate around 600 between 300 and 500,000 inhabitants. Large neighboring cities took in part of the population.

In January 532 the four circus parties into which the people had organized combined and sparked the Nika uprising . There were street battles and the church of Hagia Eirene , the baths of Alexander , two imperial villas, the basilica of Illus and the hospice of Sampson and that of Eubulus went up in flames, as did the house of Symmachus, the Aquilian and the Church of Theodor and an arch on the Forum of Constantine. When the uprising was put down, 30,000 people are said to have been massacred in the hippodrome. The destruction gave Justinian the opportunity to undertake ambitious building projects, in the course of which the burnt-down Hagia Sophia was rebuilt within five years. It was consecrated on December 27, 537. A storage and distribution basin, the Yerebatan cistern, was built below the basilica (a columned hall built in the 4th century opposite the Augustaion ) . The Sampson Hospice was also rebuilt. In 552 silkworms could be smuggled in from China, from the 7th century on, silk workshops can be found at the Great Palace. Soil and debris deposits along the coastline prove the construction of residential buildings as well as building laws that stipulate house stocks and construction heights.

Despite the splendor and the military successes against Vandals and Ostrogoths, the capital suffered from excessive demands on the resources of the empire. So there were always severe shortage years, such as 524, 546 or 555, when there was a lack of oil, wine or bread. From 542 a chain of plague waves that lasted two centuries began , which hit the capital's population particularly hard ( Justinian Plague ). Under Justin II (567-578) an orphanage (orphanotropheion) was built. Almost all imperial construction work ended around 600 (a last honorary pillar was erected in 614), apart from the expansion and maintenance of the defenses. The population sank, mainly due to the plague wave of 747, when people began to bury the dead within the city walls. Public baths, such as the Zeuxippos baths, were used as prisons, perhaps as silk workshops. The population collapsed to 30 to 40,000.

Sieges, epidemics

Byzantines repel Russian attack of 941, Chronicle of Johannes Skylitzes , 13th century

From a military point of view, Constantinople was considered impregnable for a long time, and numerous attacks and sieges failed on the city walls. The reinforcement of the wall on the Marmara Sea, which stretched over 8.5 km from the Serailspitze to the connection with the land walls, contributed to this. However, it was only closed in the early 9th century and then strengthened again and again. The wall on the Golden Horn was also reinforced in the 8th century. The first practical test came in 626 with the attack of the Persians and Avars , whereby the imperial fleet succeeded after ten days of siege in repelling the Slavic auxiliary troops that had penetrated into the Golden Horn on dugouts. Until 768, the water supply from the Thracian hinterland, which was cut by the Avars, remained interrupted via the Valens aqueduct . In the north of the Golden Horn, where the Avars broke through, Emperor Herakleios had the walls closed and the hilly area expanded like a fort. This is where the Blachernenviertel came into being. In total, the walls were about 20 km long.

Alleged remnant of the chain that blocked the Golden Horn

The two failed sieges by the Arabs in the years 674-678 and 717/18 ended the advance of the Muslim armies towards Europe. Anastasios II (713–715) had reinforced land and sea walls as a precaution, all residents who could not build a three-year supply of grain had to leave the city. For the first time the chain was mentioned, with which one tried to seal off the Golden Horn.

While the Arabs were pushed back from Asia Minor in the course of the 8th to 10th centuries, the Bulgarians conquered the area around the city. The first siege took place in 813. The series of attacks did not end in the 9th and 10th centuries when Bulgarians, Rus (860, 907 and 941) and Hungarians (934), in 1090 Pechenegs , tried several times Conquered Constantinople, or at least pulled it outside the walls. As a rule, these sieges led to the devastation of the Thracian region around the city, and the more easily fortified Kalchedon was conquered several times by Persians and Arabs. As a result, there are hardly any traces of Byzantine architecture to be found there today.

Despite recurring city fires, epidemics , earthquakes and tsunamis , Constantinople remained one of the few “world cities” (next to Baghdad and Córdoba ) and by far the largest Christian metropolis until the Middle Ages . Under Justinian, its population rose again sharply. During his term of office, however, the severe plague epidemic of 542 also fell , in which tens of thousands of people (according to some estimates even half of the city's population) died. By the middle of the 8th century, the population decreased drastically, but then rose under Basil II (976-1025) to 200,000 and up to the 12th century to around 400,000, according to other estimates even 700,000 inhabitants.


Entry of the emperor Nikephoros Phocas into Constantinople through the Golden Gate, Chronicle of Johannes Skylitzes , 13th century
The widow Danielidis is carried through the streets of Constantinople by slaves on a litter, Chronicle of Johannes Skylitzes , 13th century

The supply of the inhabitants presented the rulers with permanent problems, especially in the 7th century after the loss of the "granary" Egypt to the Arabs , which caused the population to decline again. To ensure the supply of goods, ports on the coast to the Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea were expanded or rebuilt. Until the 7th century, large quantities of wheat came from Paphlagonia , Greece (especially barley) and Egypt. With the Persian conquest of Egypt in 619, then the Arab conquest in 642, the delivery from there was temporarily interrupted, but it soon revived. However, Teall assumes that the population of the capital has now declined to around 250,000.

To supply the huge capital with drinking water, several aqueducts were built from the hill country to the north-west, the water of which was stored in several underground cisterns with a total capacity of 130,000 m³ ( e.g. the Yerebatan Sarnıçı completed in 532 under Justinian I ). So far 71 such cisterns have been found. In general, the emperors recorded a "building desire" in the 4th-6th centuries. Century, from which Kalchedon - although it was constantly in the shadow of Constantinople - profited. The port was expanded and palaces and churches were built.

The fact that Emperor Theophilos (829-842) had to discover that his wife Theodora had established a profitable monopoly for Syrian grain against his will shows how hopeless it was to suppress the wheat trade even in phases of the sharpest Christian-Islamic differences . The same thing happened to his predecessor, Emperor Leo V (813-820), who had the Egyptian grain trade prohibited. A famine in Egypt (968-70) resulted in famine in Constantinople due to this continued dependency.

This only changed in the 11th century, when Egypt was increasingly being used to supply the growing Islamic cities with grain, which in turn meant that Constantinople had to use other sources. The large landowners exported large quantities of grain from their own loading ports (Skalai) on their own account. The minister and favorite of Emperor Michael VII (1071-1078), Nikephoritzes, reacted with harsh measures, as price increases due to these private monopolies had led to riots and looting. So between 1073 and 1078 he confiscated the Skalai and monopolized the grain trade.

Territorial losses as a result of military defeats, especially the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, forced the Byzantines to seek help in the Christian West at the end of the eleventh century. The advance of the Normans via southern Italy to the Greek mainland could only be stopped thanks to the Venetians . In return, they were contractually guaranteed trade privileges, tariff discounts and a trading office in Constantinople. Further requests for help in the west led to the declaration of the first crusade by Pope Urban II , as a result of which an army from all parts of Western Europe moved towards Constantinople, where the last departments arrived in April 1097. In the metropolis on the Bosporus, the crusaders saw an advanced infrastructure that they did not even come close to from any of their cities. There were aqueducts, baths and sewers, clinics with departments for a wide variety of diseases, a large university, police and fire department. Traders from all over the world met in the city's bazaars , whose great wealth was based on overseas trade. Emperor Alexios I , worried about his capital in the face of the seemingly barbaric hordes, hurried to transport the crusader army to the Asian side of the Bosporus. The more than 50,000 men conquered the nearby sultanate capital Nicaea that same year and then moved on towards Jerusalem .

With the invasion by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century and the loss of the areas of Asia Minor, the grain supply shifted completely to Bulgaria and Thrace, Macedonia and Thessaly . In doing so, Rodosto , which had been rising up since the 10th century, became of central importance for supplying the capital. Long-distance trade was no longer, as it was in the 6th to 10th centuries, primarily geared towards luxury goods, which the Italian traders increasingly attracted, but lived from the grain trade alongside raw materials for the textile industry.

From 1118 to 1124 the Pantokrator Monastery (today Zeyrek Camii ) was built, which included a hospital with 60 beds on five wards, plus a nursing home with 24 beds. Other monasteries also began to take care of the sick in the 11th century. The 6th century orphanage has also been revived.

Dissolution of the connection between Hagia Sophia and the Imperial Palace

The Komnenen (1081–1185) moved their residence to the Blachernenviertel, which protected and cordoned off an extension of the wall. The consequence of this gradual relocation of the court was that the now only partially used imperial palaces fell into disrepair. In addition, the processional routes that the imperial family and the court took each year changed, which in turn increased the prestige of certain streets and strengthened or weakened their maintenance and expansion. Studies on this are still lacking, however.

Quarters for Venetians, Pisans and Genoese

In 1082 the Venetians were given their own quarters on the Golden Horn, in 1111 the Pisans, and finally in 1155 the Genoese. Venice was entitled to four landing stages (Skalai), three Pisa and two Genoa. The traders from Italy had such a strong advantage due to their extensive tax exemption that they soon dominated long-distance trade. The traditionally friendly relationship of the Byzantines to Venice gradually turned into hostility, to which the church division that had existed since 1054 contributed significantly. Added to this were the power struggles between Venice, Pisa and Genoa on Byzantine soil . Venetians and Pisans plundered the Genoese quarter in Constantinople in 1162 and 1170.

The Greeks felt the arrogant behavior of the "Latins" as a provocation. The explosive atmosphere erupted in 1171 when the Byzantine government first confiscated the property of thousands of Venetians and then imprisoned them. This completely destroyed Venice 's most important market and its economic existence was threatened. Allegedly even Enrico Dandolo, who then came to negotiations, was blinded . Despite a peace signed in 1177, the event of the "Latin pogroms" had a lasting impact on the relationship between Constantinople and Venice. On April 9, 1182, the so-called "Latin massacre" occurred, in which 30,000 people were allegedly killed. In 1192 all foreigners who lived in the city for less than two years had to leave Constantinople. In 1202 a crusader army, equipped by Venice and led by Doge Dandolo, tackled the conquest of Constantinople, under the pretext of settling the dispute over the throne there.

Conquest of 1204, Latin Empire

Emperor Alexios III fled from the advancing army, and Isaac II (again) took his place on the throne. After Isaac II and his son Alexios IV died (under unknown circumstances) and Alexios V succeeded them to the throne, the crusaders were expelled from the city. They then prepared another attack. On April 13, 1204 they succeeded in storming the city from the sea wall on the Golden Horn. The subsequent looting of the city lasted three days. Many residents of the metropolis were killed, numerous monuments destroyed, works of art were destroyed or stolen, libraries burned down and a large number of the relics kept in Constantinople were scattered all over Europe. When the crusaders discovered a mosque (there was supposedly a first mosque since 718 due to the presence of Muslim traders and prisoners of war after the siege of Constantinople (717–718) , and in the 12th century there was certainly a mosque outside the sea wall northwest of the Galata Bridge) and lit, the resulting fire destroyed an entire district. Three fires in July and August 1203 and in 1204 alone caused great damage. In addition, many Byzantine families fled and their houses fell into disrepair.

The Crusaders divided up the Byzantine territory and established the Latin Empire . Three eighths ("a whole and a half-quarter") of the empire and also three eighths of the capital fell to Venice. This meant that everything between Mittelstrasse (Mese) and the Golden Horn fell to Venice, the Venetian Bailò resided in the Pantocrat monastery. Emperor Balduin took over the Great Imperial Palace, his brother Heinrich moved into the Blachernenpalast. However, Baldwin fell into Bulgarian captivity as early as 1205, and his brother followed him in office. So the old palace continued to deteriorate. After 1220 a group of Franciscans settled in the church of Maria Kyriotissa ( Calendarhane Mosque ).

Emperor Constantine (XI.) Laskaris had fled to Nikaia in 1204. There a small power structure ( Empire Nikaia ) arose in a convenient location not far from the Bosporus, which the Emperor's brother Theodor soon enlarged. At the same time, a descendant of the Komnen dynasty, which was disempowered in 1185, escaped to Trebizond . Theodor Angelos of Epiros , who was raised to emperor in Thessaloniki in 1224, so that there were now three Greek empires, oppressed the young empire from the west and Nikaia from the east. In 1230, however, the Bulgarians defeated the army of Theodor Angelos in the battle of Klokotnitsa , who was killed in the battle. Johannes Vatatzes , successor to Theodor Laskaris , was now the main opponent. Only the insurmountable double walls of Theodosius and the power of the Venetian fleet were able to protect the shrinking metropolis.

Reconquest, Italian dominance, loss of the surrounding area (from 1261)

Constantinople map from 1420 in Cristoforo Buondelmontis Liber insularum archipelagi . Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France , Département des Cartes et Plans, Ge FF 9351 Rés., Fol. 37r

In 1261 the Nikaia empire managed to regain the capital in a coup. The Byzantine Empire was restored on a comparatively modest scale, and it was able to regain significant parts of the Balkans for a few decades. However, it subsequently lost more and more areas of its territory, first in Asia Minor to the Turks, then in the Balkans to the Serbs. Around 1300 Constantinople still had around 100,000 inhabitants. It had lost its role as the most important trading center in the Mediterranean to the Italian port cities. The Genoese received quarters in 1267. Trading branches were established in the Pera district (today Beyoğlu) on the northern side of the Golden Horn. Despite express prohibitions, they fortified the city in 1307. In 1348 - again against the imperial will - they erected a large defensive tower on the top of the hill, which has been preserved to this day with major changes.

In 1326, with the conquest of Bursa by Osman I , a military leader of a small Turkish tribe, the triumphal march of the Ottomans began. In quick succession they conquered large parts of Anatolia , the Emirates on the Aegean coast and parts of mainland Europe. Byzantium soon resembled an island in the Ottoman Empire. In the 15th century it only consisted of the actual urban area and the surrounding villages, the population sank to around 40,000.

From 1324, the Venetians were also allowed to sell grain from Crimea , which had previously always passed through Constantinople, in the markets of the empire, with the exception of the fruit market in Constantinople itself. This increased the city's dependence on Venetian grain deliveries. In order to secure the supply of wheat to the city , the farmers had to pay a tax in kind again after 1307. After 1305, due to marauding soldiers, so many refugees poured into the city that Patriarch Athanasios I asked the emperor to take state control of the buying, selling and baking of bread in view of the food shortage and the black market for wheat. On the other hand, however, stood the interests of the Genoese, who benefited from the supply of the capital and largely dominated it after 1312.

From 1352 the Ottomans succeeded in conquering the Thracian countryside, in 1371 the Bulgarians became their vassals, in 1390 the emirates on the Aegean coast. Their area reached almost within sight of the city. The economic decline had a grueling effect on the centralized state, which disintegrated into a system of appanages. In its financial hardship, the state taxed all grain shipments that reached Constantinople from Byzantine cities in 1341 with a special tax, the commercium . In order to increase the income, the Byzantine officials also included cities that had long since ceased to belong to Byzantium.

From 1370, Emperor Johannes V leaned largely unreservedly on Venice, and in 1369 he even became a Catholic. In 1376 he sold the island of Tenedos , which controlled the entrance to the Dardanelles , to Venice, especially since Byzantium had practically no more navy. In 1437 the city still had perhaps 40,000 inhabitants.

Ottoman conquest, 1453

Siege of Constantinople (detail from an illumination, 1455)

On the night of May 28th to 29th, 1453, the Sultan had his ships pulled from the Black Sea across the mainland to the Bay of Constantinople with the help of wooden panels and animal fat. Towards morning the besieged had to watch as the troops conquered their city in the shortest possible time.

Map of Istanbul, Piri Reis 1525

Now the Muslim rulers who made Constantinople the capital of their empire shaped the cityscape anew. Many churches, the most important of which was Hagia Sophia , were supplemented with minarets and converted into mosques . Soon, however, the displaced Greeks and Armenians were allowed to return and they shaped the multicultural image of a metropolis that was tolerant by European standards until the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Ottoman period (from 1453)

Istanbul and Constantinople

After the conquest, the Turks called the city Istanbul in everyday usage , although the official name remained Constantinople until the 1920s ; Konstandinúpoli is also said to this day in the Greek language area . The name Istanbul ( formerly Stambul in the German- speaking world ) is derived from the Greek εἰς τὴν πόλι (ν) , in the Koine is slashed to is tim boli (n) , which means in the city and, according to legend, is an inscription Found signposts in the vicinity of the city of Constantinople. It was understood by the Turks as the name of the city. Johannes Schiltberger reports at the beginning of the 15th century: "Constantinople hayssen the Christians Istimboli and the Turks hayssends Stambol". Mehmed II used the forms Kustantiniya or Kostantiniye in official documents and on coins . There were also several paraphrases, such as the gate of happiness , the good city or the house of the caliphate .

Capital of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923)

The city became the residence of the sultans and the capital of the Ottoman Empire. In addition to its political importance, it retained great economic and cultural importance and received immigration from all parts of the growing empire. The patriarchy was retained until 1821 Greeks ( Phanariots ) played an important role. The rudimentary internal administration took over as the first Hızırbey Çelebi, who took over the function of Şehremini , the trustworthy man responsible for the Old City. In addition, the Kadis ( Istanbul Kadısı ) played an important role, the religious judges. From the latter to 1858 a number of 422 office holders have survived, with the reform of that year the office received a new scope of functions. In this office, another 51 “mayors” followed until 1923.

In 1477 there were 16,324 houses in Istanbul and Galata. However, due to a lack of knowledge about the average size of the “households”, it can only be roughly extrapolated from this that the city now had at least 80,000 inhabitants again. There were 9,517 Muslims, 3,151 Greeks and 3,095 Armenians, Gypsies and Latins, plus 1,647 Jewish homes. This increase in population was the result of prosperity, but also the settlement policy of Mehmed II , who offered the tax-free purchase of uninhabited houses. The Topkapı Palace became the seat of the court, but the women's refuge was housed in Eski Saray at Forum Tauri until the middle of the 16th century . Bayezid II used the opportunity when the Spanish expelled the Jews from their country in 1492 to bring several thousand refugees to Constantinople. At the end of the 15th century, the city again had more than 100,000 inhabitants. With the conquest of Egypt under Selim I (1512–1520) in 1517, Constantinople became the seat of the caliph and numerous artists went from Cairo to the Bosphorus. In the middle of the 16th century, numerous Greeks moved to the city. But a severe earthquake with a subsequent tsunami threw Constantinople back for years on September 10, 1509. More than a thousand houses were destroyed, 4 to 5,000 people died and around 10,000 were injured. The walls of Galata were damaged, as was the city's massive tower. Aksaray was flooded, the walls of Yenikapı jumped, the walls around the shipyards collapsed. The strength of the quake was estimated to be close to 8.0, the height of the waves at more than 6 m.

Under Suleyman the legislature (1520–1566), Istanbul was the capital of a huge empire that stretched from Hungary to Baghdad and Algeria . The Ottoman Empire was at the peak of its power, which is reflected in a multitude of palaces and mosques designed by the architect Sinan , the greatest Ottoman master builder. The Sultan was responsible for the food supply, who was also supposed to protect against usury, corruption and other abuse. Executing organs were institutions created for this purpose in a mixture of influence from leading families, patronage and more or less rational selection and training of officials. Diplomatic relations, for example with the Holy Roman Empire, were still determined by legation trips at the time of the siege of Vienna (1529); there was not yet a permanent diplomatic representation at the Sublime Porte. When negotiations started in Constantinople in 1530, the negotiating language was Croatian, as there was no suitable interpreter for the German language on the Bosporus and none for the Turkish language in Vienna.

Economic basis

The presence of the court and the growing number of civil servants, the military and the navy resulted in a high demand for bulk goods, but above all for luxury goods. As a result, Istanbul consistently imported significantly more goods than it produced itself. Obtaining, importing, and distributing the food for such a large population was a daunting task. In order to ensure the supply, the Ottomans made the entire surrounding area and the Black Sea area the hinterland of the city, to whose needs almost every economic activity was geared. The transport industry in the city adapted to this, mainly dealing with grain and other foodstuffs, building materials, clothing, leather, heating and lighting material. The other goods that were produced in the city were largely consumed there. The exchange took place in the markets, especially at the Great Covered Bazaar and the Golden Horn, a structure that the Ottomans had taken over from the Byzantines. By the end of the 15th century there were more than a thousand shops in the bazaar. The markets for fruit and vegetables, that for grain and that for wholesaling were separate from one another. In Galata there was also a very lively market between Karaköy and Kasımpaşa. The grocers in particular were scattered throughout the city. Nevertheless, some trades concentrated in certain districts, such as the butchers and tanners in Yedikule and Edirnekapı, where the lampmakers also sat, and the saddle makers in Saraçhane. At the end of the 16th century, there are more than 100 artisan guilds that took part in a festive procession in 1582. In 1669, 139 guilds were listed, representing a total of 32,150 stores in Istanbul. Although it is difficult to determine the proportion of craftsmen in the total population, their proportion in neighboring Bursa was 18 to 24%. The total number of inhabitants is estimated a little more cautiously today, some believe it was 250,000 to 300,000 in the 17th century, other estimates are higher. Every day the population needed 300 tons of grain. In any case, the government fought against the influx, which especially uprisings such as the Celali uprisings of 1519, 1526–28, 1595–1610, 1654–55 and 1658–59 intensified enormously. About 40% of the population is believed to have lived outside the old city walls.

Istanbul-Constantinople and the three cities

Tophane Square in 1890

In the course of the 17th century, the building activity of the sultans and the Ottoman greats stalled after the palace district and several mosque complexes, markets, caravanserais and military buildings were built. In 1609 the Sultan Ahmed Mosque at At Meydanı and the 1663 the Yeni Camii in Eminönü were built, but construction activities related more to the expansion of the city into the neighborhood, i.e. to Galata, Üsküdar on the Asian side and Eyüb west of the Land walls that were collectively called "the three cities". Istanbul was the center of attraction for the minorities - the patriarchates of the Greeks and Armenians sat in Fener and Kumkapı in the Fatih district - that was where the most important markets were located, politics was controlled, and the authorities were located there. Galata, which the Ottomans occupied in 1453, was largely preserved and the local population did not migrate. Therefore, it was the preferred place of residence of the Europeans who came later, who found familiar milieus, languages ​​and cultures here. In addition, there were magazines and shops there, but also the Ottoman military facilities on the Golden Horn, which are still there today. The ships were built in the Tersane, the large shipyard in Kasımpaşa , and weapons were made in Tophane, which gave the district its name. Eyüb again had a completely different character. There were gardens, parks and pastures there, fishermen lived there, butchers and tanners, but also lamp makers. The place attracted more Muslims, especially since numerous mosque districts developed there and it was the grave of the revered companion Mohammed Ebu Eyüb el-Ansari , who died during the first Arab siege of Constantinople in the 7th century. Üsküdar, in turn, was an important point for international merchanting carried out by Armenians and Europeans; from here all military campaigns to the east began. However, towards the end of the 16th century, a solidification of scientific interest became noticeable, as manifested itself, for example, in the destruction of the Istanbul observatory in 1582 on the orders of Sheikhul Islam.

Attempts at order and riots

The Kafes , the “prince's prison”, in which relatives of the heir to the throne were kept under control

In contrast to earlier research, which saw only a long decline in Ottoman history after the 16th century, more recent research sees a change from a centralized state characterized by feudal structures to a decentralized, economically determined and less autocratic regiment. In addition, the succession was arranged in such a way that fratricidal fights did not occur again and again, with the victor having his brothers killed each time. Since Ahmed I (1603–1617) there was a more regular succession. The succession battles no longer took place between the armies in the provinces, but at the court in Istanbul. At the same time, the grand viziers received considerably more influence; they moved to the Paşa Kapısı opposite the Sultan's Palace around 1654.

These changes in power control combined with changes in the army led to a series of uprisings that resulted in the deposition of the Sultan in 1622, 1648 and 1687, and further uprisings in 1632, 1655 and 1656. Possibly as a consequence Because of this unrest and the high risk, as happened in 1622 and 1648, that the Sultan was killed, the rulers preferred to stay in Edirne from the second half of the 17th century. Revolts became a hallmark of political communication between the complex court and society, as the rebellious Janissaries often combined with the urban poverty and the simple craftsmen.

Signs of decline

These rebellions were also driven by a pronounced inflation and thus impoverishment, which became known as the Ottoman price revolution , and which shaped the years between around 1580 and 1650. The trade suffered from the devaluation of the Akçe , a coin that originally weighed 1.2 g, a weight that fell to 0.33 g after 1600, which was probably also due to government spending . Therefore, larger silver coins were issued, such as the Para . It was introduced under Murad IV (1623-1640). 40 para corresponded to a kurus or piaster . Nonetheless, inflation continued, while the prices, often set by the state, were only slowly adjusted. The affected trades and trades became impoverished. At the same time, the state increasingly collected its taxes in coins, preferably in "good", i.e. European, and accepted fewer and fewer Ottoman coins or even in kind. A tax tenant system was also established in the provinces. The Köprülü viziers, who ruled imperial politics from around 1656 to 1683, tried to find solutions to avoid the collapse. In 1657 there was a victory over Venice at the Dardanelles and revolts could be put down. The government reacted in this way, but failed to find fundamental solutions.

As is so often the case in religiously dominated societies that get caught up in a general crisis, many residents believed they could find a solution to the needs in fundamentalist movements. They mainly followed men, such as Kachzade Mehmed († 1635), who called for a return to the simply imagined life in the time of Muhammad. They turned against everything they found modern, such as drinking coffee, smoking, or the zikr , the Sufi practice of speaking the names of God quietly or aloud. Kadizadeli and Sufi orders often fought each other in major street fights. In 1633 and 1662 coffeehouses and taverns were banned, in 1685 even non-Muslims were banned from drinking wine, and men like Vani Mehmed, an adviser to Mehmed IV, gained great influence.

Signs of recovery

Audience with Selim III. (1789–1807) at the Gate of Bliss

In the 18th century the city, neglected by the sultans living in Edirne, experienced a revival. Between 1703 and 1808, over 300 magnificent private houses and seraglio were built. Mahmud I (1730–1754) and his successors equipped the city with palaces, fountains and parks. A large part of the surviving manuscripts originate from the time after the general spread of letterpress printing in Europe, but they were eagerly copied. In the 18th century there were supposedly 90,000 copyists working in the city.

At the same time, from around 1760, Egypt's dependence on grain decreased rapidly. This role was taken over by manors (Çiftlik) in the Balkans and in Anatolia. From 1792, Ottoman Greeks brought Russian grain to the Bosporus.

Reforms and modernization, nationalisms, ethnic immigration (19th century)

A lack of reforms, corruption, military defeats and isolation from modern tendencies resulted in the fact that, despite an impressive facade in the 19th century, when one meant the Ottoman Empire, people spoke of the “sick man on the Bosporus”. Beginning with the Tanzimat reforms of 1839, a civil elite emerged, which in 1890 consisted of at least 35,000 career officials, no longer deployed. However, these were only active to a small extent in Istanbul, but mostly in the territories. At the same time, the number of scribes, who were still in the thousands around 1700, was drastically reduced.

In 1812 a severe wave of plague hit the city, killing around 150,000 people, followed by another epidemic in 1836, killing 80,000 people. But between 1824 and 1845, apart from Kurdistan and Iraq, the disease disappeared from the empire. Istanbul was still the largest city in the world around 1700, although an economic and demographic process of stagnation was emerging. Nevertheless, around 1800 Istanbul was still the fourth largest city in the world with its 580,000 inhabitants, after Beijing, London and Canton, and even before Paris. In 1878 there were 546,437 inhabitants, in 1885 there were already 873,565, of which 129,243 were subjects of other states, which corresponded to a proportion of foreigners of almost 15%. In 1913 Istanbul was one of 13 cities with a population of more than one million.

The wages were more favorable than in Leipzig or Vienna, for example, if the wages of craftsmen are measured in wheat equivalents.

In Istanbul, non-Muslims were prohibited from traveling in the city. Goods were mostly moved by human power; carts pulled by animals were the exception around 1800. Tram tracks were laid through the streets built according to western models. These vehicles were preceded by men equipped with sticks to drive the dogs away. Istanbul began to catch up on the technical deficit in many places, and was also faster at it. After the Lumière films were first shown in Paris in 1895, they were shown in Istanbul the following year. Long before Western Europe, the topography of Istanbul did something that was still the exception in Western Europe for a long time, namely that the urban ruling classes demanded a house with a sea view. The city's two train stations, completed by German architects in 1887 and 1909, welcomed travelers from Europe with an orientalizing facade, travelers from Asia Minor with a Greek-classical facade.

The city attracted all minorities in the empire and gained the nimbus of a multiethnic metropolis. Armenians migrated to the city as early as the 8th century; in Pera there were 2,500 Jews in the 12th century, plus at least 7,000 Italians. The Armenians made emperors and it is believed that 10 to 15% of the Byzantine aristocracy were of Armenian origin. The dome of Hagia Sophia was restored from 989 to 994 by the Armenian builder Trdat . Nevertheless, an independent ecclesiastical organization can only be proven from around 1360, the first Armenian bishops not until 1433. Sultan Mehmed II ensured that an Armenian patriarchate was established in his capital, Constantinople, which was conquered in 1453.

From the 17th century there was a significant influx of Armenians from all areas of the empire. In the middle of the 19th century there were already more than 220,000 Armenians living in Constantinople , who helped shape the image of the city with their own culture. The genocide of the Armenians from 1915 finally put an end to this. When the Greek uprising against Ottoman rule began in 1821 , the Patriarch of Constantinople Grigorios V was brought to justice and executed.

Culturally, the city adopted numerous elements of Western art. In 1828 Giuseppe Donizetti , Gaetano's brother, was hired as court music director to set up an opera in Istanbul . In 1900 the University of Istanbul was established, which had five faculties. It did not tie in with traditional traditions, but emerged after three failed attempts based on the western model and had a main focus on the natural sciences .

After a devastating fire in 1870, Tarlabaşı was one of the first residential areas in Istanbul to be redesigned on the drawing board. It developed into the quarter of the gay Muslims, the Greek, Armenian and Jewish middle classes.

Panorama view of Istanbul from the
Galata Tower , around 1890. Left the northeast, in the foreground Galata , the Bosporus towards the Black Sea, in the background the Asian shore; in the middle the Bosphorus exit to the Sea of ​​Marmara, the Golden Horn and the old town; on the right the west, in the foreground the harbor district.

First World War, end of capital city status (1914–1923)

Constantinople around 1910

During the First World War , the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers on August 2, 1914. The Entente Powers demanded rights of passage through the Bosporus and Dardanelles, which the Sublime Porte refused. Between February 19, 1915 and January 9, 1916 there was heavy fighting for the Dardanelles in the Battle of Gallipoli (in Turkey "Çanakkale Savaşı", "War of Tschanakkale" called), where Turkish troops were over 315,000 men fought off a British empire of almost 470,000 men with German support under Otto Liman von Sanders . Around a quarter of a million people were killed. But in March 1917 Baghdad fell to the British, and in September 1918 the Ottomans suffered the decisive defeat in the Battle of Palestine .

Greek expansion 1832-1947

In the Peace of Sèvres , the Ottoman Empire was divided among the allied victorious powers. It suffered enormous losses of territory. İstanbul with the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits was initially occupied by the Allies; Greece planned to recapture the city and began a campaign. Under Mustafa Kemal , known as Ataturk, a war of liberation against the Greeks and allies began, which ended with the Treaty of Lausanne - the Greeks of Constantinople were the only ones allowed to remain in Turkey, the rest of the Greeks who were allowed to stay there for more than three millennia looked back, had to leave the country. The Turks in Greece also had to give up their homeland.

In 1923 İstanbul lost its status as the capital of Turkey to Ankara in the central highlands of Anatolia, probably also to distinguish itself from the tradition of the Ottomans: the sultanate and caliphate were abolished, the Arabic script was replaced by the Latin one, and an educational system based on Western ideals became installed, introduced universal suffrage (also for women). However, İstanbul retained its cultural and economic importance, which was reinforced by the lively influx of people from Anatolia since the 1950s. In so-called Gecekondus ( huts built overnight may not be demolished without further ado in Islamic custom) they settled on the outskirts. Gigantic construction projects above and below the ground were the result, which, however, cannot keep pace with the rapid population growth.

In 1925, Kemal Ataturk, now the founder of the republic, banned the then numerous Dervish orders with a large number of members . Most of them then acted in secret, some of them still have a large following today. In order to evade the still valid ban, however, these mostly appear as "cultural associations".

Expulsion of the minorities

The everyday life of the Christian and Jewish minorities still living in Istanbul was marked by discrimination and reprisals after the First World War. In 1923, the Tatavla or Tataulon district, which was heavily influenced by Greeks, was renamed Kurtuluş (Liberation). In August 1927 the Elza Niyego riots broke out. In 1942 a special wealth tax ( Varlık Vergisi ) was introduced, and in September 1955 the Istanbul pogrom . In 1964 around 100,000 Greeks without Turkish citizenship were expelled from the country. The number of Armenians in Istanbul is therefore only about 60,000 today, while the number of Greeks is 2500.

Second World War, dominance of the military, beginning growth phase

İsmet İnönü , who was Prime Minister from 1923 to 1924 and from 1925 to 1937, was reassigned to this office by the military after a coup from 1961 to 1965. In 1963 Turkey signed an association agreement with the European Economic Community , but left and right terrorist activities increased and the economic situation deteriorated. In 1971 the army intervened again in politics without a coup.

Street fighting broke out in Istanbul between right-wing and left-wing militants. In the Ümraniye district , socialist groups controlled the Mustafa Kemal district from 1977 to 1980 , which they named Bir Mayıs after Labor Day . Like dozens of others in Istanbul, this quarter consisted of houses called gecekondu , which were built and tolerated overnight. A people's committee, a house of the people, a health center, a school and cooperatives were created. A kurtarılmış bölge was created , a “liberated zone” that prevented the police and army from occupying the quarter. A military operation led to the occupation with the use of considerable force, and there were shootings and torture. Today the quarter is divided by an urban motorway, but the housing situation has improved.

The military under General Kenan Evren declared martial law in 1980 and banned political parties. On November 7, 1982, the constitution presented by the military was adopted by referendum . It came into force on November 9, 1982.

Istanbul's population rose from its low of 680,000 in 1927 to 1.3 million in 1955 - despite evictions. In 1970 there were already over 2.1 million inhabitants, 2.5 million five years later. The influx, especially from the Asian regions, rose sharply after 1980. By 1985 the population had doubled to around 5.5 million in just five years. The Istanbul Stock Exchange was established at the end of 1985 .

Economic and cultural recovery, secularism and Islam

Under Mayor Bedrettin Dalan , a new concept was implemented against considerable opposition. Industry was banned from the area around the Golden Horn, and in 1988 the six-lane Tarlabaşı Boulevard separated Tarlabaşı from the coveted place of residence of Beyoglu. Tarlabaşı was further isolated and fell into disrepair, and at the same time became the home of numerous poor and ethnic minorities. 368 historic, mostly listed houses fell victim to the street. Bülent Ecevit , Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002 reformed civil law and strengthened the rights of assembly and demonstration. The death penalty has been abolished, torture has been banned and, in the long term, the cultural freedoms of the Kurdish population have been strengthened. His successors allowed the use of the Kurdish language , and the state broadcaster TRT 3 broadcast programs in several minority languages. Meanwhile, the influx to Istanbul did not let up. In 1990 the population rose to nearly 7 million, by 2000 to almost 9 million. This changed the social structure fundamentally, the rural population became the majority in the metropolis.

From 1994 to 1998, the current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was mayor as a candidate for the Refah Partisi . During this time he represented Islamist goals and ensured, for example, that no more alcohol was served in communal bars. However, his more far-reaching, religiously motivated attempts, such as the introduction of separate bathing areas for women or separate school buses for boys and girls, met with resistance. His pragmatic policy from 1999, which was clearly more secular, earned him support, but also opponents.

In late 2003, the city was the target of a series of terrorist attacks . On November 15, a car bomb exploded in front of Istanbul's largest synagogue, Neve Shalom, and the Beth Israel synagogue, five kilometers away, and seriously damaged them. Around 20 people were killed and more than 250 were injured, some seriously. Another attack occurred on November 20, this time on the building of the British HSBC bank and the British consulate . About 30 people were killed and over 450 injured. As perpetrators were Islamists traced, the trial of the perpetrators went on 16 January 2007 to the end.

The attack in Istanbul on July 9, 2008 left six people dead.

In a referendum in September 2010, the people of Turkey voted for comprehensive constitutional changes. A number of the new regulations are intended to adapt the constitution to legal norms of the European Union .

Tectonics of the Mediterranean and neighboring areas

On August 17, 1999, the city hit another earthquake, similar to July 10, 1894, but it was less severe than earlier (probably 7.0). Still, it killed 17,100 people, mostly in the İzmit area . In 1894, 1,773 houses were destroyed, 474 dead and 482 injured. Another earthquake occurred on September 18, 1963, but the subsequent tsunami with waves of about one meter was relatively weak. Such tremors can be traced back a long way. In the sources there are references to larger earthquakes and tsunamis from the years 325, 358, 407, 427, 447, 478, 553, then only again in 865 and 986 as well as 1332 and 1344 due to the unfavorable source situation. Such can be found in Ottoman times Notes from the years 1509, 1577, 1646, 1659, 1751, 1754, 1766, 1829, 1878 and 1894. These earthquakes were of varying strength, similar to the tsunamis, but now more and more plans are being made to protect Istanbul from such catastrophes, as well as dealing with the consequences. In addition, the dynamic behavior of buildings such as Hagia Sophia is examined.

In April and May 2009, the Sulukule district , which is predominantly Roma, was largely demolished. 571 families were relocated up to 40 km away, despite protests by UNESCO, numerous university members and the European Parliament. The 3400 residents who had remained until then had to move to other urban areas, as the rental apartments on offer, at the equivalent of 480 euros / month, were well above the average income. Something similar was planned for Tarlabaşı. The residents were left alone with piles of rubbish until most of them moved away.

In 2010 Istanbul was the European Capital of Culture , and in 2011 the Marmaray rapid transit system was put into operation in order to cope with the traffic in the metropolis, which now houses around 14 million people and which has long been by far the largest city in Europe.

39 people were killed in the terrorist attack in Istanbul on January 1, 2017 .

As a metropolitan region, Istanbul has been subordinate to a Lord Mayor since 1984, an office that various parties were able to win in free elections. The first had Bedrettin Dalan ( Motherland Party , ANAP) to 1989 held the office. He was followed by Nurettin Sözen ( Sosyaldemokrat Halk Partisi , SHP) and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ( Refah Partisi ) until 1994 . From 1998 to 2004 Ali Müfit Gürtuna (Refah Partisi, RP) was Erdoğan's successor. From 2004 until his resignation on September 22, 2017 (initially without giving reasons) [2] , Kadir Topbaş was Lord Mayor of the city. He is a member of the ruling AKP . Ekrem İmamoğlu (CHP) was declared Lord Mayor of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on April 17, 2019 by the Turkish Electoral Commission (YSK). Due to a complaint by the AKP, the election commission canceled the election result on May 6, 2019 because of alleged irregularities. In the new election on June 23, 2019, İmamoğlu received almost 800,000 votes more than Binali Yıldırım (AKP) and was thus re-elected mayor.

Web links


Overview works

Prehistory to antiquity

  • Curtis Runnels, Mehmet Özdoğan: The Palaeolithic of the Bosphorus Region NW Turkey , in: Journal of Field Archeology 28, 1-2 (2001) 69-92.
  • Onur Özbek: Sea level changes and prehistoric sites on the coasts of Southern Turkish Thrace, 12,000–6000 BP , in: Quaternary International 281, 2012, 162–175.
  • Şengül Aydıngün: Istanbul Prehistoric Survey Season 2007 , in: Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of the Archeology of the Ancient Near East: Excavations, surveys and restorations. Reports on recent field archeology in the Near East. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2010, pp. 75–84.
  • Edith Schönert-Geiß : The coinage of Byzantion , 2 vols., Berlin, Amsterdam 1970, 1972.

Late antiquity and the Middle Ages

Modern times

  • C. Kafadar, H. Karateke, C. Fleischer: Historians of the Ottoman Empire , Harvard University, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge, Massachusetts 2008.
  • Franz Babinger : The historians of the Ottomans and their works , Leipzig 1927.
  • Noyan Dinçkal: Istanbul and the Water , Oldenbourg, Munich 2004.
  • Ebru Boyar, Kate Fleet: A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul , Cambridge University Press 2010.
  • Eunjeong Yi: Guild Dynamics in seventeenth-century Istanbul. Fluidity and Leverage , Leiden 2004.
  • Hans-Peter Laqueur: Ottoman cemeteries and tombstones in Istanbul , E. Wasmuth, 1993.

See also


  1. ^ Vangelis Tourloukis: The Early and Middle Pleistocene Archaeological Record of Greece. Current Status and Future Prospects , Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2011, p. 40.
  2. ^ Vangelis Tourloukis: The Early and Middle Pleistocene Archaeological Record of Greece. Current Status and Future Prospects , Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2011, pp. 40f.
  3. ^ Vangelis Tourloukis: The Early and Middle Pleistocene Archaeological Record of Greece. Current Status and Future Prospects , Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2011, p. 53.
  4. Şengül Aydıngün: Istanbul Prehistoric Survey Season 2007 , in: Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of the Archeology of the Ancient Near East: Excavations, surveys and restorations. Reports on recent field archeology in the Near East, Otto Harrassowitz 2010, pp. 75–84, here: p. 77.
  5. Özbek.
  6. Ivan Gatsov: Prehistoric Chipped Stone Assemblages from Eastern Thrace and the South Marmara Region 7th-5th mill. BC , John and Erica Hedges, Oxford 2009, p. 13.
  7. ^ Christian Marek, Peter Frei: Geschichte Kleinasiens in der Antike , Beck, Munich 2010, p. 82.
  8. Oya Algana, M. Namık Yalçın, Mehmet Özdoğan, Yücel Yılmaz, Erol Sarı, Elmas Kırcı-Elmas, İsak Yılmaz, Özlem Bulkan, Demet Ongan, Cem Gazioğlu, Atike Nazik, Mehmet Ali Polat:, Holocene Meriç change in the coastal ancient harbor of Yenikapı – İstanbul and its impact on cultural history , in: Quaternerly Research 76.1 (2011) 30–45.
  9. receipt?.
  10. Unearthed Hittite artifacts in Istanbul break new ground , in: Daily News, December 5, 2013.
  11. Pliny Nat. 4, 18.
  12. See Thucydides 1:94.
  13. The Treasure of the Turks under the U-Bahn , in: Die Welt , December 8, 2008. In the deeper layers, up to 8000 year old artifacts and human remains, as well as urns were found.
  14. On the land wall cf. Bruno Meyer-Plath, Alfons Maria Schneider : The land wall of Constantinople. Recording, description and history , de Gruyter, Berlin 1943.
  15. JL Teall: The Grain Supply of the Byzantine Empire , In: Dumbarton Oaks Papers 13 (1959) 88-139, here: p. 92 already assumed half a million inhabitants for the time around 400.
  16. Peter Schreiner: Constantinople. History and Archeology , p. 28.
  17. ^ Pauline Allen: The Justinianic Plague, in: Byzantion 49 (1979) 5-20.
  18. JL Teall: The Grain Supply of the Byzantine Empire , Dumbarton Oaks Papers 13 (1959) 88-139, here: p. 100.
  19. Peter Schreiner: Constantinople. History and Archeology , p. 29.
  20. Alain Ducellier, Michel Kaplan, Bernadette Martin: Le Moyen Age en Orient: Byzance et l'Islam, Des Barbares aux Ottomans , Paris 1980, p. 144.
  21. ^ JL Teall: The Grain Supply of the Byzantine Empire . In: Dumbarton Oaks Papers 13 (1959) 88-139, here: p. 115.
  22. ^ Alain Ducellier, Michel Kaplan, Bernadette Martin: Le Moyen Age en Orient. Byzance et l'Islam, Des Barbares aux Ottomans , Paris 1980, pp. 197f.
  23. ^ JL Teall: The Grain Supply of the Byzantine Empire . In: Dumbarton Oaks Papers 13 (1959) 88-139, here: pp. 118-124.
  24. In this sense, Peter Schreiner puts it: Constantinople. History and Archeology , Beck, Munich 2007, p. 85.
  25. ^ Franz Georg Maier (ed.): Weltbild Weltgeschichte , Vol. 13: Byzanz , Augsburg 1998, p. 312.
  26. ^ Wilhelm Heyd : Histoire du commerce du Levant au Moyen Age , Leipzig 1886, reprint Amsterdam 1967, p. 533 note 3.
  27. Angeliki E. Laiou: The provisioning of Constantinople during the winter of 1306-1307 , In: Byzantion 37 (1967) 91-113, here: p. 96.
  28. Hans-Jürgen Hübner: Quia bonum sit anticipare tempus. The municipal supply of Venice with bread and grain from the late 12th to the 15th century , Lang, Frankfurt a. a. 1998, p. 284f.
  29. ^ Klaus Kreiser: History of Istanbul. From antiquity to the present , Munich: Beck, 2010, p. 15.
  30. ^ Klaus Kreiser: The Ottoman State 1300-1922 , Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, p. 15.
  31. ^ GA Papadopoulos, T. Murty, S. Venkatesh, R. Blong: Natural Hazards. State-of-the-art at the End of the Second Millennium , Springer, 2000, p. 187.
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  64. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48739256