The first inhabitants settled on the Asian side of Istanbul. The city's name came from the Megara King Byzas in the 7th century BC. And the settlers established a colony named Byzantium. This spot was chosen by the Byzas, who Delphi told to settle across the land of the blind.
Alexander the Great took over the city after the 4th Century BC. In 193 AD, the city was conquered by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus, and it was ruled until the 4th Century AD. The city's name was then changed to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine the Great and made the capital.
Built on several hills like Rome, the Constantinople and Eastern Roman Empire was called the Byzantine Empire after the 5th Century. The city was filled with ancient world treasures by the early Byzantine emperors between the 4th and 6th centuries.
Due to commotion during Justinian I's rule, the city was destroyed and rebuilt as impressive structures which stand as the monuments of the golden age of Byzantines today, like the great Hagia Sophia. Constantinople lost its richness and strength after being besieged from the 7th to 10th centuries by foreigners. It also lost all its wealth under the rule of the Fourth Crusade in 1204.
Constantinople was then renamed Istanbul and made the Ottoman Empire's capital after being conquered by Ottoman Turks led by Sultan Mehmet II.
The sultans built mosques and public buildings between the 15th and 16th centuries, exceeding the population of around half a million by the year 1500. Istanbul then became the major cultural, political and commercial center.
In 1923, after Ataturk’s struggles, the Republic of Turkey was formed, and Ankara became the capital. However, still Istanbul today has developed vastly and is the center of all commercial and cultural activities.
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