Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world. Istanbul is known for its geographical location due to its strategic importance, connecting Europe and Asia, creating a bridge between the two continents that became the hub for trade for centuries.
Therefore, it has been a valuable city and a part of many different civilizations and empires throughout history.
It is estimated that Istanbul was first inhabited back in 3000 BCE. Even
though it was inhabited, it was not yet a proper city until Greeks arrived in the 7th century BCE. These Greek colonists established a colony in Istanbul and named it Byzantium which was named after King Byzas. Around 300s, Byzantium became an important part of the Roman Empire. The emperor of the time, Constantine decided to rebuild the whole city. In 330, the city became the capital of the Roman Empire which marks the first time how Istanbul became the capital. After becoming the capital, the city was also renamed as Constantinople, after the emperor Constantine. Later on, the Roman Empire was divided as East and West. Eastern Roman Empire came to be known as the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople also became the capital of this new empire emerged from the division of the old Roman Empire. During this time, COnstantinople gained its importance due to becoming the center of commerce, trade, diplomacy and culture. Since the city was at the center of Europe and Asia, it allowed easy access to each side of the world and it was also the easiest way of reaching the Mediterranean. During this time, important structures such as Hagia Sophia was built. Thus, Constantinople also became the center of Christianity
After the crusades, due to attacks made to the city, Constantinople became a part of the Catholic Latin Empire. During this time, the constant struggle between the Catholic Latin Empire and Greek Orthodox Byzantine Empire cause Constantinople to decay by all means from structures to culture. In 1453, Constantinople was taken over by the Ottoman Empire, specifically by Mehmed II the Conqueror, and it became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. During this time, the name of Constantinople changed and evolved into Istanbul. Mehmed II also started to rebuild the city after it being weakened by all the struggles and wars. He built the Grand Bazaar. He created a mixed population by bringing many Christians and Jews in addition to the Muslim population.
After the World War I, there were many changes happening in the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish War of Independence took place and the Ottoman Empire became the Turkish Republic in 1923. Along with this change, Istanbul was now a part of Turkey, however, it was no longer a capital due to political and strategic reasons concerning the safety of the state. During the 1940s and 50s, Istanbul regained its glory with many constructions. During the 1970s, population grew in the city which led Istanbul to become the metropolitan city that we know today.