If you're visiting Istanbul for the first time or the tenth, you're certainly aware that the city never ceases to amaze its tourists. There are plenty of historical landmarks, cultural attractions, and museums to visit in this cosmopolitan metropolis. Istanbul's magic derives not only from its historical sites, but also from its inhabitants and living culture. When you visit Istanbul, you'll want to get to the center of the city's culture as quickly as possible. As a result, we recommend that you book an Istanbul Tourist Pass for your journey to Istanbul. Yet, before your Istanbul trip, let’s take a look at the magnificent history of this city!
The first settlers of Istanbul lived on the Asian side of the city and date back to the second millennium BC. It gets its first name from Megara king Byzas, who brought his colonists here in the 7th century BC to found a settlement called Byzantium, which is the Greek name for a city on the Bosphorus. Byzas selected this location after meeting with a Delphi oracle, who advised him to settle across from the "land of the blind." Indeed, Byzas concluded that earlier explorers would have been "blind" for missing this magnificent spot at the mouth of the Bosphorus strait, the Black Sea's only entry point.
The city was controlled by Persians in the 6th century BC, and after Alexander the Great took over in the 4th century BC, it was prosperous until the 2nd century BC. The city was conquered by Roman emperor Septimus Severus in 193 AD, and it remained under Roman rule until the 4th century AD, when emperor Constantine the Great made Byzantium the capital of the entire Roman Empire and named it Constantinople, and the Eastern Roman Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire after the 5th century. Like Rome, the city was founded on seven hills.
Early Byzantine emperors, particularly between the 4th and 6th centuries, when the city's population surpassed half a million, filled their city with the riches of the ancient world. The city was devastated by riots in 532, during the reign of Justinian I. However, it was restored, and notable buildings such as Hagia Sophia still remain as monuments to the Byzantine Empire's golden age. Istanbul's later history is full of intrigues and sieges; it was besieged by Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries and by Barbarians in the 9th and 10th centuries, but it was ruled by the Fourth Crusade from 1204 to 1261, who ruined and sacked all the wealth. Constantinople never recovered its former wealth or power after that.
In 1453, the Ottoman Turks, led by Sultan Mehmet II, invaded Constantinople. The city was renamed Islambol and became the Ottoman Empire's capital. Sultans constructed several mosques and public buildings between the 15th and 16th centuries, bringing Istanbul's population back up to about half a million by the mid 1500s. Istanbul was a significant cultural, political, and economic centre. Throughout the times, the word "Istanbul" was derived from a combination of "Islambol" ("capital of Islam" in Turkish) and "eis tin Polin" ("to the City" in Greek). Important landmarks such as Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace was built under the Ottoman reign in Istanbul
Ottoman rule continued until World War I, when allied forces invaded Istanbul. The Republic of Turkey was established in 1923, after years of struggle led by Ataturk against the invading powers, and the capital was relocated to the province of Ankara. Istanbul, on the other hand, has started to grow rapidly, with a population of over 13 million people and rising. It is also Turkey's economic and intellectual epicenter.
We, as well as the museums, take precautions very seriously. Istanbul is a low-risk travel destination in contrast to other countries, and travel experts take safety measures very seriously. Social distance is maintained during museum visits, and masks are required at all times. The number of guests is limited at any given time. In addition, since the Istanbul Tourist Pass is fully wireless, there is less chance of transmission when registering or visiting Istanbul's museums and palaces, such as Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.