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Before Conquest of Istanbul


The history of Istanbul goes back to 300 thousand years ago. The first traces of human culture were discovered in the excavations carried out in Yarımburgaz Cave on the banks of Küçükçekmece Lake. It is thought that Neolithic and Chalcolitic people had been living around there. In the excavations made in the various periods of time, some instruments belonged to the Epi-paleolithic period have been found within reach of Dudulu and a few instruments and materials belonged to the Middle and Upper Paleolithic Period have been found near Ağaçlı.It is estimated that starting from 5,000 B.C a concentrated settlement activity started in Çatalca, Dudullu, Ümraniye, Pendik, Davutpaşa, Kilyos and Ambarlı, led by Kadıköy Fikirtepe.On the other hand, the foundation of Istanbul is dated to 7.000 BC. Istanbul was rebuilt by the Constantine the Great (306–337) in the 4th centuryi, after that it became the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In its long history, Istanbul served as the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). In addition, the city became one of the the Christian center and after the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmet II on 29th May 1453, it also became the most important muslim city.


There have been settlements in what is now Istanbul since prehistory, but the foundation of today's Istanbul were lain in the 7 th century BC. The Megarians came into Istanbul from Greece through the Sea of Marmara in 680 BC. They established a colony on the Acropolis above the Golden Horn opposite the Greek Colony of Chalcedon, which had been established a few years earlier. The Chalcedon Colony was involved in architecture and referred to as “the Land of the Blind,” possibly because they must have been blind no to see the advantages of setting on the European side of the Bosphorus, which would be much more secure militarily. The Megarians, under the leadership of Byzas, acted according to a Delphic oracle in choosing the site. They were settled in (today’s Sarayburnu) and the town came to be called Byzantium. It is thought with the various Thracian people were living in the area and intermingled with the Megarians. Byzantium, through becoming a commercial center and as a result of its being easily defensible, became a powerful, fast-growing member of the Greek colonies. In 513 BC. Byzantine was taken by the Persian leader Darius who had captured Anatolia. The city remained in Persian hands until it was taken by the spartan general Pausanius in 477 BC. He in turn set himself up as a tyrant and was driven out by the Athenians and their allies in 475 BC. The city revolted against the Athenians and surrendered to the Spartan commander Lysander in 403 after the final defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian wars. The city entered into an uneasy alliance with King Philip of Macedonia (father of Alexander the Great) during which the city walls were repaired but surrendered without a battle to Alexander the Great in 334 BC. After his death in 323, the city was under the leadership of one of the generals of Alexander the Great, Antigonos, but more or less governed itself. The city was overcome by hordes of Saxons arriving from the West in 278 BC. and was looted and forged to pay tibutes. It was later captured by the Allied forces of Rhodes, Pergamum and Bithynia under whose sovereigty it remained until it was bequeathed to the Roman Empire by last ruler of Pergamum. The Macedonia-Roman wars ended in the sovereignty of Rome over the Balkans, Asia minor and Byzantium in 146 BC.and period of peace ruled for the next 300 years.


The sovereignty of the Romans over the Byzantine was partially at their own consent. Fed up with being the focus of a long lasting conflict between Bithynia and Macedonia in the 2nd century, BC. Byzantium joined with Kyzikos and Rhodos in calling on Rome for aid. It became a subject of the Roman Empire in 146 BC. Formerly self administered, it became a part of the Bithynia-Pontius province, thus maintaining its importance but losing the city-state status it had enjoyed for 700 years Sheltered by the Roman administration, Byzantium experienced a 350 years period of relative peace broken only by the Septimus Severus and Pescennius Niger civil war in the 2nd century AD.

The Byzanıines had supported Pescennius and Following his defeat Septimus wrecked his revenge on the city by massacring many of its inhabitants, burning the city on an even grander scale and Byzantium once again entered a period of relative calm, lasting up until the period of Constantine the Great. In 330 AD., the Roman Emperor, Constantine I, proclaimed the ancient city of Byzantium as his capital. The newly rebuilt city subsequently became known as Constantinopolis. The imperial city became one on the most prominent political and religious centers in Christendom during the reign of Constantine, who was said to have been baptised as a Christian on his death-bed. Throughout the 4th and 5th centuries, the city became a target of attack, especially by Goth and Vizigoth warriors. Attila the Hun besieged Constantinople in 440 and for ten years extracted taxes from its residents. During this period of chaos, sectarian arguments occasionally escalated into riots and civil wars. In spite of civilunrest, Constantinople managed to retain its international reknown.

The city's population exceeded that of Rome, especially after the huge wave of Thracian immigrants in the 5th century It was during this time that the outlying suburb of Sycae was created (today's Galata); it grew to accommodate the influx of immigrants and became a significant trading site, connected to the metropolis via a bridge. The Western Roman Empire, on the other hand, was in decline. In 476, the Ostrogoths dethroned Romulus Augustine, the Roman Emperor of the West. Constantinople was soon to become the sole capital of the Roman Empire.


After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the Eastern Roman Empire of which Constantinople was the capital, became the Byzantine Empire. Thus, İstanbul was transformed from a "Roman City" to a somewhat Orthodox one, with an eastern accent.

The mid-sixth century marked the beginning of an enlightened age for the Byzantine Empire, and thus, for İstanbul, In contrast with his predecessor, who was not even literate, Emperor Justinian I was an educated and religious man. During his reign the city prospered as an Orthodox Christian capital. St. Sofia's Church was reconstructed during this period.

However, the plague of 543 killed almost half of the city's population. Disaster followed disaster. Fortunately, the infrastructure built by Emperor Justinian I. had made the city fairly resilient against all manner of catastrophes and wars. The late 7th and 8th centuries became years of siege. In the 7th century, İstanbul was attacked by both Persians and Avars. Later, in the 8th century, Hungarian and Muslim Arabs besieged the city. Russian and Hungarian forces, in the 9 th century, also tried to conquer this desirable metropolis. Meanwhile, sectarian conflicts among Christians had become violent, fuelled by the politics of the Emperor who took a decisive position in the matters. The pro/anti-iconography split which divided the population bore a tremendous impact, not only on the city, but on the entire Empire and on Christian theology in particular İstanbul's thriving era was eclipsed by Latin occupation. In 1204 the city was conquered by the Crusaders and was looted mercilessly. The largest city of the Middle Ages, with a population of nearly 500,000 lay impoverished, and in ruins.


Istanbul first became familiar with the Crusaders in 1096. The Emperor Alexius rejoiced at the coming of the first crusaders, hoping to regain lands lost in Malazgirt. The agreement was for the Byzantines to support the erusaders and occupy lands taken from the Moslems. The Crusaders didn't go along with the plan and founded the Eastern Catholic Kingdom in Jordan in 1099. The Crusaders were despised by the residents of İstanbul who openly showed their disfavour. Mean.vhile, the Crusades continued and the fourth Crusade ended in the invasion and dividing up of Istanbul. During that period there was a great deal of dissension as to the succession to the throne. The Crusaders, realising their opportunity entered the Golden Horn with the aid of the Venetian. The attack began on 9 April and the city fell on 13 April. For three days, in an unprecedented example of barbarism, Istanbul was looted and the inhabitants murdered. Many important structures, including Haghia Sofia were damaged and hundreds-of-years-old books were burned. Important Byzantine works of art were taken to Europe. The looting became routine and the Crusaders joined with the Venetian to divide Byzantium among themselves, founding the Eastern Catholic Empire. After this, Istanbul grew smaller and poorer. The wealthy and royal and many of the populace fled to Iznik (Nikia). The Eastern Catholic Empire only managed to be sovereign in lstanbul and its environs. Iznik (Nikia), Trabzon (Trebizand) and Epiros in Greece formed a Byzance alliance and surrounded the Eastern Catholıc Empıre ın 1254. Istanbul became even more impoverished, so much so that the Emperor Baudoin II had to resort to using the wooden sections of the palace as fuel to provide heat. Finally, the Palailogos noble family regained Istanbul, thus was the ending of the Eastern Catholic period.


The second period of the Byzantine Empire starts after the Palailogos Kingdom took Istanbul from the Latins in 1261. During this period, Istanbul would not be able to regain its previous importance and individuality. During this unfortunate period, being subjected to a merciless pillage by the Latins, Istanbul lost many of its historical treasures, as well as its importance for international trade. The decline of Istanbul lasted until the end of this period. Istanbul became a farm city surrounded by fortresses. It lost its entire commercial superiority to Galata (Sycae). Galata became the center of trade and commerce leaving Istanbul behind.

Nevertheless, there was one positive improvement: during the Second Byzantine Period, the fight among religious factions calmed down. Istanbul became the center of Orthodox Christianity during this period. Byzantine art excelled to its apex during this period. The mosaics on the wall of Kariye (St. Savior-in-Chora).

Church is considered as the peak of Byzantine art. During this period, Istanbul was in the center of a gradually shrinking circle surrounded by Ottomans who were conquering Byzantine land continuously in 1373.

Istanbul started paying the Ottomans a tribute tax. In 139.3 Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid and in 1422 Sultan Murad V besieged İstanbul, but they failed. Since Orhan Gazi, the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus was under the control of Ottomans. In the l5th century most of the Thrace, with the exception of several insignificant towns, were under the control of Ottomans.

Thus, the Byzantine emperors of the l5th century were frequently forced to ask help from Catholic Rome. But, in exchange for help, the Papacy demanded the unification of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches under the authority of Rome. In 1452, the Byzantines were compelled to submit to this condition. The demand to celebrate this unification in Haghia Sophia Church, in the center of İstanbul, caused bitter reactions and harsh protests. With the fall of Constantinople in May 1453, the Byzantine Empire became history. This was the starting point of a new and a brighter period for İstanbul.



Istanbul had been a valuable target since the beginning of the military campaigns of the Muslims. First Muslim Arabs, then Muslim Turks launched numerous military campaigns against Istanbul, and besieged the city during some of those campaigns. It was rumored that Istanbul, which was known as "Kostantiniyyah" to Muslims, would be conquered by a righteous commander and soldiers. The first Muslim military campaign against Istanbul happened during the reign of Caliphate Uthman. Muawiya, the governor of Syria, prepared his navy for the first maritime campaign against Istanbul. This navy fleet beat the Byzantine navy and opened the sea passage to Muslims. Muslims conducted the first Istanbul siege in 668, during the reign of Muawiya, the Umayyad Sultan. The siege was continued until the spring of 669, but the army couldn't conquer the city and epidemics killed many, soldiers and the army had to withdraw. Ebu Eyyub el-Ensari, the flag-bearer of the prophet Mohammed, was killed during this siege and buried at the bottom of the city walls. According to a popular rumor, his tomb was found by Sheikh Akshemseddin, who had visualised its location in his dream, during the conquest of the city by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. A mosque was later built at that location. After this first campaign, Muawiya sent the new navy in 673. The navy entered the Marmara Sea in 674, but the siege which took seven years was unsuccessful. Another siege, led by Maslama bin Abdu'l-Malik from August 716 to September 717 was also unsuccessful. He lost the majority of his troops at Istanbul front because of weather conditions, hunger, illnesses, and attacks by Bulgarian guerrillas. Some historical sources mention that the Emperor Leon III opened a mosque for Muslim prisoners of war at the request of Maslama and that he toured the city with Maslama after the siege was lifted. The last siege by Arabs occurred in 781-782 by the army under the command of Harun who was the son of the Sultan of Abbasid. Dynasty, el-Mahdi. Harun beat the Byzantine army at Izmit andreached Uskudar and besieged the city. He signed a treaty after the siege and returned back home. Harun ar-Rashid was then crowned as Abbasid Sultan and was honored with "ar-Rashid" title because of his Istanbul campaign. Besides these sieges there were also other campaigns waged by the muslim Arabs against Istanbul.


Ottoman Turks became interested in Istanbul during the l4th century. All residential areas of today's Istanbul besides Surici (inside the city walls) became the territory of the Ottoman Empire way before the conquest. Ottomans also interfered with the internal affairs of Byzantine Empire during the same period of time. Manoeuvring around Istanbul continuously, they were getting prepared for the final cut Ottoman armies and reached the gates of Istanbul in 1340, but they did not lay siege.

A strong Christian alliance stopped the campaign which was initiated by Sultan Murad I at Çatalca. The first big siege aimed to conquer Istanbul was realised by Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid. However, his army did not enter the city as a result of the agreement he made with the emperor. Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid influenced Istanbul afterwards, too. He managed to establish a Turkish square, a mosque and a court which gave trial to Turks. He would support the emperors who would take care of Ottoman interests. This was one of the most important factors the affected the conquest of Istanbul by Turks. The last siege attempt during the reign of Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid occurred in 1400. But the Timur problem interfered with this.

The siege led by Musa Çelebi, the son of Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid, in 1411 was also unsuecessful. The Emperor, fearful of the sııccess of the Ottoman army, obtained the support of Çelebi Mehmed, brother of Musa Çelebi, from Bursa and the siege was lifted. Afterwards, during the reign of Celebi Mehmed there were no military campaigns against Istanbul. The last siege before the conquest occurred during the reign of Sultan Murad II The strategic planning phase of the siege took a long time, and it was very powerful strategic plan. But the siege was more difficult than the previous ones.

The siege started on June 15, 1422 by 10,000 cavalry men with the blocking of the roads which connected Istanbul to other cities. Emir Sultan, one of the most powerful spiritual leaders of that time. came from ßursa and joined the army with his hundreds of dervishes. That positively affected the soldiers. The attack on August 24th, which Emir Sultan also participated in, was very intense, but not enough to conquer the city. The siege was lifted because of the rebellion of Shehzade Mustafa who was the brother of Sultan Murad II. This left the task of the conquest of Istanbul to the son of Sultan Murad II.


Prior to the fall of Istanbul to the Ottomans, Byzantium had lost its status as a powerful empire: its land mass holdings had shrunk to the territories of Constantinople, Silivri Castle on the Marmara shore, and several small towns, such as Vize and Misivri. These sites were completely surrounded by the Ottomans, and the villages just beyond the Constantinople fonresses were left untouched by the Ottomans not because they were strong, but because they were considered insignificant.

Constantinople was the target. The Byzantine emperors had accepted the sovereignty of the Ottomans and were paying tribute taxes to the Empire. In reality then, the Ottomans were dealing not with Byzantine emperors, but with minor Tekfurs (Byzantine princes). Irı essence, then, the domination of Byzantium was not that of an empıre and that Constantinople was more a religious center than the seat of an empire. It was the last and the most powerful stronghold of Chrístendom in the face of Islam and mounting Muslim military forces. To circumvent its fall, the Pope organised a new Crusade. However, having been stunned by Ottoman attacks, Byzantium’s most debilitating internal problem was exposed: the rift between Orthodox and Catholic Christians. This division led to insufficient assistance from Europe to defend the crippled Empire. In a desperate effort to unify, the factions, the Emperor and Patriarch gave in, and in 1439 at the Florence Council, knelt down, and offered their allegiance to the Catholic Church. Although a constrained one, this new alliance began an era of d'Etente between the Roman Orthodox and Catholic Church, who, with the eminent Ottoman threat, put aside their hundredyear - oId conflict and differences The formal celebration of the agreement was to become the subject of mass protests, however, as the people of Constantinople feared European involvement, and sought to defray the resurrection of another Latin era. After the Florence Council agreement, the powerful Crusade that was formed launched an attack on Rumeli in 1443 and 1444. However, the Ottoman victory at Varna was able to stop the tide of invading Crusaders. Varna was also the battle that determined the fate of Costantinople. Now, the conquest of the city became compelling for the young empire, who perceived Constantinople as an ailing element in the heart of Ottoman land. The decisive link between Rumeli and Anatolia spelt the fall of Constantinople and the rise of Istanbul.


Preparation for the conquest of Istanbul started only, one year ahead Iuge canons that were necessary for the siege were moulded. In 1452, Rumeli Castle was constructed to control the Bosphorus. A mighty fleet of 16 galleys was formed. The number of soldiers were doubled. The supply routes to Byzantine were taken under control. An agreement was made with Genoese to keep Galata impartial during the war. In Aprıl 1453, the first Ottoman frontier forces were seen in front of Istanbul. The siege was starting. The important points of the conquest are chronologically listed below.

6 April 1453: Sultan Mehmed pitched his imperial tent by• the door of Romanus in
Topkapi. The same day the cìty was besieged from the
Golden Horn to the Marmara Sea from the land.
6-7 April 1453: First cannons fired. Some of thè fortresses in Edirnekapi were destroyed.

9 April 1453: Baltaoğlu Süleyman Bey la unched the first attack to enter the Golden Horn gulf.
9-10 April 1453: Some of the fortresses on Bus were taken. Baltaoğlu Süleyman Bey seized the Marmara Islands.

11 April 1453: The big fortresses were bombarded by cannon fires. Holes and cracks were opened here and there. Serious destruction inflicted by ceaseless bombardment

12 April 1453 The Ottoman fleet attacked the ships protecting the Golden Horn. The victory of the Christian ships decreased the morale of the Ottoman army. At the order of Sultan Mehmed, the Byzantine ships were pounded by mortar fire, and one galley was sunk.

18 April 1453, Night: The Sultan gave his first crucial order. The attack lasted four hours but it was scattered.

20 April 1453: A naval skirmish took place close to Yenikapi between the Ottoman fleet and four Byzantine war-ships with three supply ships full of food and weapons sent by the Papacy The Sultan came to the shore himself and ordered Baltaoğlu Süleyman Pasha to sink those ships by any means possible. The Ottoman fleet could not stop enemy's ships which were bigger. With this failure the Ottoman army lost its morale and showed the signs of defeat. Ottoman soldiers staned defecting from the army. Soon, the Byzantizne Emperor wanted to take advantage of thís situation and offered peace. The offer, supported by famous Vizier Çandarlı Halil Pasha, was rejected by Sultan Mehmed. The siege and bombardment of the fortresses with cannons continued.

During this chaos and widespread feeling of defeat, a letter from the Sultan's spiritual teacher Akshemseddin promised good news about the conquest. Encouraged by this spiritual support, Fatih Sultan Mehmed, escalated the attaek, and decided to add an element of surprise: the Ottoman fleet anchored in Dolmabahce would be moved to Gold en Horn gulf land.
22 April 1453: In early. hours of the morning, Byzantine Christians were dumbfounded and horrified when they saw Ottoman galleys moving down on the hills of the bay Seventy ships carried by cows and balanced by hundreds of soldiers via ropes were slid over slipways. By afternoon the ships were inside the well protected bay.

The surprise appearance of the Ottoman fleet in the bay created panic among Byzantine residents of Costantinople. The fonresses on che shore of Golden Horn became a vulnerable spot and some of the Byzantine forces were moved there. This weakened the defence of the land fortresses.

28 April 1453: The attempt to burn the Ottoman ships in the bay was prevented by heavy, cannon fire. A bridge was constructed between Ayvansaray and Sütluce to attack the fortresses located on the shore of the bay An offer of unconditional surrender was delivered to the Emperor through the Genoese. If he surrendered he could have gone wherever he wanted and the life and property of his people would .have been spared. The Emperor rejected thzs offer.

7 May 1453: A three hour long attack was launched on the stream of Bayrampasa with a 30,000 strong force; but it was failed.

12 May 1453: A thunderous attack made towards the point between Tekfursaray and Edirnekapı was defeated by the Byzantine defence.

16 May 1453: When the underground tunnel dug in the direction of Eğrikapı intersected the Byzantinian underground tunnel, an underground skirmish erupted. The same day, an attempt to cut the sturdy chain blocking the entrance of the bay failed. The following day the attack was repeated, but again ended with failure.
18 May 1453: Ottoman forces launched another attack from the direction of Topkapı, by using a wooden mobile tower. the Byzantine burned the tower at night and emptied the trenches that were filled by Ottomans. Over the following days, bombarding of the land fortresses was continued.

25 May 1453: Fatih Sultan Mehmed, sent Isfendiyar Beyoğlu ismail Bey as an ambassador offering him to surrender for the last time. According to this offer, the Emperor and his followers could take their wealth and go anywhere they wished. The people who decided to stay could keep their belongings and estates. This offer too was rejected.

26 May 1453: According to rumors European countries and especially Hungarians were planning to mobilise their troops to help the Byzantines unless the siege was ended. Upon hearing these rumors Sultan Mehmed gathered his war council. In the meeting Çandarlı Halil Pasha and his party defended their previous position, that is, of putting an end to the siege. Sultan Mehmed with his tutor Zağanos Pasha, his teachers Akşemseddin, Molla Gızrani and Molla Hızsrev opposed the idea of quitting. They decided to continue the war and Zağanos Pasha was commissioned for preparations.

27 May 1453: The general attack was announced to the Ottoman army 28 May 1453: The army, spent the day by resting and preparing for the next day's attack. There was a complete silence among soldiers. Sultan Mehmed inspected the army and encouraged them for the great attack. On the other side, a religious ceremony was held in Haghia Sophia Church. The Emperor urged people to participate in the defence. This would be the Iast Byzantine ceremony.

29 May 1453: Platoons positioned for the assault. Sultan Mehmed gave the order to attack at midnight. Inside Constantinople, while the soldiers positioned for war, people filled rhe churches. The Ottoman army launched its final assault accompanied by commemoration of God and beats of drums. The first assault was performed by infantry and it was followed by Anatolian soldiers. When 300 Anatolian soldiers were martyred, the Janissaries staned their attack. With the presence of Sultan Mehmed, the Ottoman army was motivated and cbest to chest fights started. Meanwhile the young soldier called Ulubatlı Hasan who first erected the Ottoman flag on Byzantine land fortresses was martyred. Upon the entrance of the Janissaries from Belgradkapı and the surrender of the last defenders in Edimekapı front, the Byzantine defence collapsed.

Abandoned by his soldiers, the Emperor was killed during street skirmishes. Turkish forces entered from every direction and crushed the Byzantine defence completely Towards noon Sultan Mehmed entered the city He went directly to Haghia Sophia Church and convened it to mosque.


The conquest of Istanbul has had such a historical impact on the Turkish and Muslim world to the degree that some historians demarcate the end of the Middle Ages with the city's conquest. With the siege of Istanbul, the Ottomans proceeded to establish hegemony over numerous independent Turkish states (Beylik) within Anatolia (Asia Minor). The result of imperial conquest was to unify the Turkish populations in Anatolia. In tum, other non-Turkish, Muslim communities and principalities were brought together under the aegis of Ottoman leadership so that the Ottoman Beylik would eventually expand into an Empire.

After the conquest, Ottoman Muslims were to take dynamic roles in shaping international politics. Up until that point, European

Chrìstendom had, for three centuries, striven to evict Muslims from Asia Minor, with Istanbul functioning as a border station for the Crusaders. After the conquest, however, the sovereignty of Asia Minor Muslims was assured, and they were no longer threatened by the Crusaders. Indeed Muslims would eventually begin European campaigns, so that the conquest of Istanbul became a historic turning point vis a vis proving superiority over Europe. A second critical component in Istanbul's signiEicance to world events and history is its relationship to the Renaissance. After its conquest, many Byzantine artists and philosophers emigrated to European centers-mostly Rome taking with them valuable manuscripts regarding advanced ıntellectual developments. These intelligentsia were instrumental in the movement to revive and revise classical Greek culture. The clash and reunification of the two divergent schools sparked the ideological revolution known as the European Renaissance, and Byzantine intellectuals from Istanbul were pivotal agents in catalysıng the movement.


The seventh Ottoman Sultan, Sultan Mehmed, the conquerror acceded to the throne twice-in 1444 and 1451-reigning for a total of 31 years.

In his youth, Prince Mehmed received a privileged edu cation, trained by the most pre-eminent scholars of his time. Among them Molla Yegan, Akşemseddin, Molla Gürani, and Molla Ayas. In accordance with the royal tradition, in order to provide him the experience required for ruling the entire state, he was appointed governor of Manisa. Concomitantly, he was schooled in the fields of mathematics, geometry, textual analysis of the Quran, religious jurisprudence, theological philosophy, and history He learned Arabic, Persian, Latin, Greek, and the Serbian languages.
Prince Mehm.d was preened to become a powerful military leader as well as an opézi-minded intellectual. Indeed, his ınvolvement in literature placed him in the class of master in the class of master poets of his time: he designated the pen name "Avni" to sign hís poems, for which he was renowned and respected by the intelligentsia of the literary cadre. The first royal collection of poems (Divan) is his. While the adolescent prince Mehmed was governor of Manisa, his father, Sultan Murad II, decided to retire, declaring his son Sultan.

Because of the perception that the office would be. vulnerable with a boy-king, European states began organising campaigns along the Ottoman borders, coalescing as the Crusade to evict the Ottomans from Europe Declaring himself chief commander of the Ottoman army, Sultan Murad II fought a decisive and bloody battle at Varna and defeated the Crusaders. With the victory Sultan Murad II reassumed executive leadership, sending prince Mehmed back to Manisa to continue his rigorous training. With the death of his father, Sultan Mehmed came to the capital city of Edirne in order to accede a second time to the throne. His very first pruject as Sultan was to fulfill his dream of conquering Istanbul-a plan that had engaged him during his stint at Manisa. His strategy was as follows. First, he erected a fortress known as Rumeli Castle, across from the Anatolia Castle, on the European side of Istanbul. He had been stockpiling an entire fleet of gigantic canons from various European states, and once sufficiently equipped, he decided he would lead the army himself on the day of attack. After succeeding in the conquest of Istanbul, he turned to expanding control of European lands to the River Danube, and took on the matter of the Serbian problem. Regarding the latter, he managed to convince the Serbs to accept Ottoman domination. He continued with assaults on Genoese lands and conquered Amasra, an important military base, and Kefe, a commercial port. He set his sights on the two capital cities on the Black Sea: he ended the Çandaroğulları rule by taking Sinop; the Pontus rule ended once he conquered Trabzon. He proceeded to add the Midilli Island as part of Ottoman land, completed the conquest of Bosnia Herzeg,ovina, and united the Balkans south of the River Danube.
By taking the Karaman, capital of Konya and the important city of Karaman, Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror established Karaman Cıunty From the Venetians, he seized the Eğriboz island; he ended the Beylik rule in Alaiye (Alanya) district. After defeating Uzun Hasan, the Shah of Akkoyunlu in the Battle of Otlukbeli, he had firmly established what was an incontestable Ottoman domination in Anatolia. Later, he set his sights to the West, capturing several Genoese castles and affixíng the Crimea Khanate to the Ottoman Empire. Once Albania-and later, Taranto in southern Italy-succumbed to Ottoman control, the Papacy panicked. The. Pope called for another Crusade; however, European states knew they could ill afford the risk. Mobilising for another battle, Sultan Mehmed the conquerror oisoned.


Mehmed II, referred to as Fatih or "the Conqueror," was responsible for the Ottoman state's development into a true imperial power after having accomplished the great feat of conquering Constantinople in 1453. This Ottoman Sultan had received a most rigorous education, not only in the Islamic ans and sciences but also in the western tradition, and thus was well trained as the future imperial ruler of the Ottoman Empire. As a military commander, he possessed extraordinary talent, managing an exceedingly disciplined and well-organised army He was renowned for the complete secrecy with which he guarded all military tactics and campaigns, divulging nothing, even to his closest cohorts. He was the first Ottoman Sultan to pay substantive attention to artillery

Before Sultan Mehmed the conquerror, canon were deployed solely as a means to frighten the enemy by virtue of their thunderous booms; in other words, their destructive power and the critical role they would assume in warfare went entirely unacknowledged. Realising their perspective power, Sultan
Mehmed the conquerror,, ordered his engineers to produce larger canons, in quantities which were, at that point, far unsurpassed. He is reported to ha..e computed the ballistic and resistance calculations on his own, single-handedly. He aspired to nothing less than a world wide empire, and spent the entirety of his adult life in pursuit of this goal. Within 30 years of his reign, he had conquered 17 states, including two empires. He transformed The Black Sea into a "Turkish lake." He conquered the entire Balkan region and the islands of the Aegean. The kingdom he had inherited from his father, Sultan Murad II, had increased in land mass some 2.5 times under Fatih. In addition to his imperial conquests, Sultan Tlehmed the conquerror occupies an important place in Ottoman history• for various state-level structural and political reforms. He overhauled and reconstrueted the entire administrative, financial, and juridical syfstenis. An open-minded and broadly-educated ruler, he encouraged the flourishment of cultural and artistic expression as well as demonstrated a rare tolerance for religious freedom. For example, after seizing the Byzantine city, Fatih convened a coterie of Italian humanists and scientists in the palace and became a great protector of Orthodox Christianity In addition, he created the rank of Orthodox Patriarch on a level equal to that of vizier or inister of the state. He requested Gennadios, the Second Patriarch, to produce a book explaining the principles of the Christian faith and had it translated into Ottiıman Turkish. For ages thereafter, the university he establishe d in the environs of the Fatih Mosque served as a central institute fıır the furtherance of Islamic research and education. On occasion, the Conquerror would consult prominent Muslim thïnkers (ulama) on current theological positions. As a result of his patronage of the sciences of the time, mathematics, astronomy and theology reached their respective apogees during his reign.



Istanbul was troubled with chaos and anarchy during the first three days after the conquest. After the third day, the city calmed down and dazzling celebrations of the conquest took place. After the celebrations, Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror issued an order keeping the soldiers off the streets of the city. The city was -immediately taken under control.

A public announcement was made regarding the freedom of religion Romans were free to practice their religion and live accordıng to their tradition. Fatih requested Roman Orthodox population to elect someone to fill the empty position of their Patriarchy. The Jewish community retained the possession of their synagogues because of their good behavior during the conquest and the chief Rabbi received compliments from Ottoman statesmen. A place of worship was dedicated to Turkish-Jewish Karayim Community around the Arpacılar Mosque. Later, a new Patriarch was appointed for the Armenian Community so an inter-faith balance and impartial justice was observed. Soon after establishing order and authority in the city, the Conqueror started a massive reconstruction project. Priority was given to restoration of the fortresses around the city Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror bought Haghia Sophia Church which was impoverished and neglected. After restoration, the church was converted to a mosque. Dunng this restoration era many new buildings were erected by the Ottoman government officials and were devoted to pious foundations for social and religious use. Some of those buildings are: Sheikh Ebu'1-Vefa Mosque in Vefa neighborhood, the tomb of Ebu Eyyub el-Ensari and surrounding annexes, Yedikule (The Seven Towers) used as state treasuıy Fatih Mosque and annexes which were built on one of the seven hills of the city, and Topkapı Palace.
Among the prominent monuments of the era are Mahmud Pasha Mosque, Gedik Ahmed Mosque, Karamani Mehmed Nişanca Mosque, Rum Mehmed Pasha Mosque, Has Murad Pasha Mosque, Ibrahim Pasha Mosque and their annexes. Also, the water system which links the springs of Belgrade Woods to the city, numerous hospitals, kitchens for feeding the poor, inns, caravanserais and today's famous Kapalıçarşı (the Grand Bazaar) were built during the reign of Fatih Sultan. To develop the city, new resi ential zones were created.

Empty lands were given away for free to veterans and to almost everyone who wanted them. The Muslim population of Anatolia and Rumeli was encouraged to immigrate to Istanbul. When the immigration was below the anticipated number, a fennan (Sultan's decree) was issued to counties to exile some of their residents to lstanbul according to a quota that reflected a diverse population of different classes, religions and ethnicity The neighborhoods that were created through the enforced iınmigration became the administrative foundation of lstanbul.

In 1459 lstanbul was divided to four administrative units each carrying different demographic characteristics. One of those administrative districts was Suriçi (inside the fortresses), the one that was outside the fortresses was called "Bilad-i Selase" (today's Eyüp district, including Çekmeceler, Çatalca and Silivri), the third district was Galata and the forth was Üsküdar. After the devastating fire in the old capital, Edirne, tstanbul became jubilant with the Elood oE new immigrants. While the abandoned religious buildings of Byzantine, as well as the ones still in use were converted to mosques, the newly created Muslim neighborhoods centered around the newly constructed mosques. The Ottoman statesmen followed a tradition of constructing or restoring buildings and granting them Eor public use. Wealthy peııple joined this traditicın oE constructing buildings for social and religicıus purposes.
By l6th century now a growing and developing big city, lstanbul received a great damage from the earthquake of 14 September 1509 which was called "the Small End of The World". Thousands of buildings were damaged by the 45-day long earthquake. Not one single minaret survived the earthquake and its aftermath. Istanbul was almost completely reconstructed in 1510 by 80,000 workers employed by Sultan Bayezid II. Therefore, most of the historical monuments we have today belong to this era.


Süleyman the Magnificent ruled the Ottoman Empire for 46 years between 1520 -1566. This was a rising period for buildings were constructed during this period. Some of them remained intact today with little damage. The city which was largely destroyed in 1509, was restored with a better plan.

New dams, aqueducts and fountains brought excessive water to lstanbul. It became a metropolitan with the construction of theological schools (medrese), caravanserais, Turkish baths, botanical gardens and bridges. The port of the Golden Horn-Galata became one of the busiest ports. The monuments of this period, especially the ones designed and built by Mimar Sinan, gave a new face to the city.

Some of the important monuments and mosques built during this period are: Süleymaniye Mosque and annexes, Şehzadebaşı Mosque and lishments, Sultan Selim Mosque and establishments, Cihangir Mosque, Mosques in Edırnekapı and Uskudar buılt on behalf of the Mihrimah Sultan, and Haseki establishments and baths built on behalf of the' Hürrem Sultan. Also the Sahn-i Süleymaniye higher education establishments (medrese) made lstanbul and education and science center. Istanbul bad a detailed city plan for reconstruction during this time.
Migration was prohibited. Building houses around the city wall was prohibited. It was mandatory- to install shutters on the windows of houses and to use stone on the buildings at Galata square. Many constructions to carry. water into the city were completed by the funds from the treasurv. The city was decorated by, Sarayburnu, Tersane, Iskender Gelebi, Dolmabahçe, Tokat, Çubuklu, Sultaniye, Üsküdar, Haydarpaşa and Kandilli botanical gardens and Büyükdere cappice. The Empire provided all the supplies and requirements needed by the city This added some more financial burden to the Rumeli and Black Sea eities, and Egypt. Coffee houses were introduced to lstanbul during this period.

Many varieties of the tulip which is native to Turkiye were cultivated during the “Tulip Period” in İstanbul. A gardener named Tabak Ata managed to cultivate 80 varieties. The first tulip to Europe was a white flower named “Tülbent” or “Muslin” in English. The name tulip comes from the Frech ‘tulle’.

Numerous other varietes of flowers were cultivated in İstanbul. in the 17th century violet and multicolored hyacinths were developed by Katip Çelebi. Horse chestnut trees admired for their flower and large shady leavers, were taken by Bachelier to France in 1615 and still adorn the streets of Paris.

The love of flower has an important place in Ottoman art and culture. The story the founding of the Galata Saray Collage is a good example of this. According to historians Sultan Bayezid II while hunting in the forest of Beyoğlu, sheltered from a sudden storm in the hermit’s cabin. The Sultan was impressed by the profusion of flowers around the hut and before his departure, he asked the Dervish-hermit Gül Baba if he had any requests, Gül Baba replied that he would like a school to be built in the area. The school was built and Gül Baba was one of the first teachers. Now known as Galatasaray College it still plays an important role in Turkish Education.


The Tulip Age (Lale Devri) refers to the period between 1718-1730 and includes the reigns of Sultan Ahmed III and his grand vizier, Nevşehirli Damat Ibrahim Paşa. The age takes its name from the great interest shown in raising tulips by the wealthy and court of the time. Istanbul experienced a great deal of innovation and changes in the period. Grand Vizier Nevşehirli Damat Ibrahim Paşa affected the architecture and public works of Istanbul through projects he had brought from Vienna.

The Golden Horn was improved and the Kağıthane River and Shores of the Golden Horn were transformed into promenadr areas, the Sadabad Summer mansion, surrounded by tulip gardens, was built for the padişah in Kağıthane. These gardens inspired the rush to raise tulips by the wealthy A great number of villas were built in Üsküdar, Beylerbeyi, Bebek, Fındıklı, Alibeykõyü, Ortaköy and Topkapı in this period. Neighborhoods which had been destroyed in fires were re-built. The Tulip Period extended beyond simple architeetural innovation. The first fire brigade was founded; the first printing press was operated by Ibrahim Müteferrika and a tile factory textile factory and the Yalova paper factory were all opened in this period. The arts and literature experienced a renaissance in these years. The palace placed great importance on poetry and artists in particular. The final masterpieces of the Turkish Classical period were completed, principally the Emetullah Gülnus Valide mosque, the Ahmed III fountain, the Üsküdar fountain, the Ahmed III library and the Damat Ibrahim Paşa Complex (Külliye). The Tulip Period ended with the Patrona Halil uprisings. A majority of the villas and tulip gardens which had symbolised the penod were destroyed ın the revolts.


The political reforms which were promulgated on November 3, 1839 at the Topkapı Palace’s Gülhane Garden hastened the westernisation of Istanbul. There were many new improvements from architecture to lifestyles. And from educational to industrial ınstıtutıons. Removal of old laws enhanced the city. Suriçi expanded towards the direction of Bakırkoy, Galata towards Tesşvikiye. More places were inhabited towards Sarıyer on the Bosphorus.

The Anatolian side was enhanced between Bostancı and Beykoz. This enhancement brought with it growing construction activities. Sultans, government officials, the non-muslim rich and ambassadors built palaces, Ihlamur and Küçüksu Imperial summer houses, and Ayazağa, Alemdağ, Icadiye and Mecidiye Pavilions were all uilt during this era. In addition, many official buildings, called "mebain-i Emriy`y•e" .•ere built during the same period. Among them were: Post Efices in different districts, Tophane and Maçka weapon storage buildings, and Pangaltı and Harbiye Buildings. Istanbul's rapid westernisation affected the architecture as well. The classical Ottoman architectural style was replaced with Baroque, Rococo and neogothic styles. This even affected the architecture of the mosques. There were also some infrastructure and service improvements in the city A bridge was built on the Golden Horn and an underground and the Thrace railway were put into service. Şirket-i Hayriye, a sea public transportation company was established. Many municipalities were reconstructed. The first telegram line was laid down. City police were established and some police stations were opened. Vakıf Guraba Hospital was opened and a tram run by horses was put into service in Istanbul. Also ınany nıodern educational institutions were opened. Some of the schc.ols founded in this era were: Darülfünun Faculty of Sciences, predecessor of today's Istanbul University), Male and Female High Schools, School of Agriculture, Telegram School, Darülmaarif, (Teacher Training School) Fortress School, Galatasaray High School, Industrial School and Medicine Academy All these changes also affected the social life of the city Especially the lifestyles of British, French and Italian soldiers and officers who came to Istanbul during the Crimea War and the lifestyles of the Levantines living in Galata affected lstanbul.s people. Bevoğlu became an entertainment center. ıv'ith its bars. cafes, tobacco stores, taverns and theaters. Greek, r1ı-menian and Jew-ish sang in some of the theaters. Plays were becoming popıılar all aı-ound lstanbul.

The middle class, along with the imperial and rich people, staned to consume western luxuıy goods. The interior decorations of the houses changed. People started to buy tables, chairs etc. .llso, people began to buy• separate houses for summer and ..,inter seasons. Suriçi, Galata and Bey•oğlu had ıvinter houses. Bosphorus. Kadıkoy and the Princess Islands were places for summer homes. This drastically raised real estate prices. The amount which in the past w•oııld have bought a house ac the Bosphoı-ııs as later paid for the seasonal rent of those homes. The ecoııomical structure of tstanbul also changed. The traditional trade guilds w'ere closed and the government started to give credit to merchants to become corporations. Industrial establishments w,ere built around the golden horn and Tophane. Strikes were introduced tstanbııl for the first time during these years. Galata became financially very powerful. The Palace was borrowing from Galata Bankers who started to direct the Ottornans exchange activities. Also a stock exchange was actívated in Galata which attracted not only bankers but also regular citizens. Political life was also very active during this time. Westernism, Islamism and pan-Turkism became powerful. The Political reforms created e new scholarly group who revived the arts and literature. Takim-i Vakayi (Calendar of Events), Ceride-i Havadis (News Paper), Basiret (Foresight), Vakit (time), Istikbal (Future), Sadakat (Loyalty), Sabah (Morning), Hayat (Life) and Cihan (World) were among the newspapers published during this time. Some other important e.•ents of the period w,ere: the first census in 1844, the Beyfoglu fire in 1870, the application of the first chicken pox vaccine in 1845 and the establishment of a real estate tax.


In 1844 Babıali (Sublime Porte) the Seat Of Ottoman Goverment, introduced monetary reforms, In 1845 it gave to Galata bankers a one year contact for all money exchange operations. Renewed at the and of the contact this enterprise was named Bank-ı Dersaadet. Taken over by a Frenchman j. Alleon who had escaped from the French revolution and an Italian jewish banker named T.Baltazzi, this bank founded in 1874 was the first establishment to be called a bank in Istanbul still remembered as the Istanbul Bank.


A new era began in Istanbul when Sultan Abdulaziz lost the throne and Sultan Abdülhamid II. .s•ho promised constitutional changes, was cro.ı•ned as the head of the Ottoman Empire on r1ugust 31, 1876. Sultan Abdülhamid II promulgated the eonstitutional changes on December 23, 1876. How•ever, the Turco-Russian War which started ıın April 27, 1877 caused panic in Istanbul. Istanbul witnessed many sad consequences of tlıe .ı•ar since it ıvas clııse to the Thracian front.

Soldiers were sent from Istanbul to the west. The wounded soldiers, people coming from the battlefront, and war refugees ereated some difficulties in the cityf. Especially. difficult was the struggle among the refııgees to live in mosques and schools and in wooden or thin sheds in very bad conditions. This as called the "Waı- ııf 93 disasters." Sultan Abdülhamid II dissolved the parliament on Febrıtary• 13, 1878. On March 3, 1878 Russian troops advanced to Yeşilkoy• (Aya Stefanos) and a peace treaty was signed at Ay Stefanos,5, which started a long period of peace. The Düyun-u Umumiye was rstablished in 1881 for ılıe ıınpaid dehts of the Ottoman Eınpire. There were some important attempts to reconstruct Istanbul during this period, Despite the fact that most of the income of the Empire was confiscated by the Düyun-u Umıımiye.

To reconstruct the burned fields and convert them to residential areas, the Terkos water network, the Hamidiye water system, and the enhancement of the natural gas system were introduced. Istanbul also had a big earthquake during this period. The people of Istanbul called it the "31Ò Earthqualce." It occurred in 1894 and badly damaged the city walls, but renovations were started immediately Sultan Abdülhamid II did not like his Qwn picture to be taken, but a photograph album of Istanbul and the Empire was prepared during his reign.

Some social unrest in 1895 and 1896 and two assassination attempts in 1905 and 1906 were some important events in Istanbul during this period. The first unsuccessful assassination attempt was aimed at the Sultan. Şehremini Ridvan Pasha (mayor of the city) lost his life in the second assassination. Some formal visits could be counted among other important events of the time. The Shah of Iran , Nasireddin and his son, the former President of the United States of America, General Grant, and Wilhelm II, the emperor of Germany visited Istanbul. Wilhelm II ordered the construction of the famous German Fountain as a remembrance of his visic.

Sultan Abdülhamid II was interested in educational matters and ordered the opening of many schools. Among them were: Cıvıl Service, Law, Fine Arts, Medicine, Education, Finance, Pharmacy, Business, Agriculture, Veterinary, Fortress and Metallurgy, Commercial Navy Disability, and Industrial schools. These scliools ranged from university to high; .kıool level Thıs also ınfluenced the number of private schools which reached 30 by 1900. Some private schools were Darülfeyz, Burhan-i Terakki, Numune-i Irfan; and Şems-i Irfan. Along with these schools, the Archaeological Museum, Beyazıt Public Library Yıldız Archive and Library and the Government's Archive were established during these years. Haydarpaşa Medicine School, Şişli Etfal Hospital, and Darülaceze were also established during this period and remain intact today On July 24, 1908 second constitution was promulgated and around 8 months later Sultan Abdülhamid II was dethroned. Sultan Mehmed Reşad V was crowned instead on April 27,1909. From that date until the formation of the Republic, Istanbul had many wars and troubles The people of Istanbul frequently witnessed people being hanged on the gallows in the public squares after the March 31 event which caused the crowning of Sultan Mehmed V The Çıragan Palace was burned down on January 19, 1910. It was the first of many bad events. The journalist Ahmed Samim Bey was assassinated on )une 9,1910. Babıali was set alight on February 6,191 l. The Balkan War started on October 18,1912. Istanbul was facing the same kind of disaster which happened during the 93 War. There was an attack against Babıali on January 23,1913. The Kamil Pasha Government was forced to resign. Bribery immorality and theft were very common and were threatening the government. Sultan Mehmed Reşad V could only watch all of this. The real power in his reign could be found in the Party of Union and Progress. The Grand Vizier Mahmud Şevket Pasha was assassinated on June 1 l, 1913. World War I started on November 14,1914. The war brought famine and poverty In spite of all its efforts, the administration could not stop the black market. The war brought wealth to some people who spent enormous amounts of money at the entertainment centers of the Beyoğlu. The hungry the poor, and the disabled war veterans of lstanbul could only watch the extravagance of these displays of decadence.


The Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I with her Allies. The occupation of Istanbul formally began when 55 enemy ships moored in front of the Haydarpaşa on November 13,1918 after the Armistice of Mondros was signed. But the city was physically not occupied of soldiers until a decision was made at the Londun Conference.

The Parliament (Meclis-i Mebusan), which was dissolved by• the Sultan in 1918, reconvened on January• 12, 1920 and and on Janııary 28, 1920 consented to the ı.tisak-i Milli (Naticınal t act). The decision to occupv Istanbul was taken at the London Conference on March 4,1920. The Telegram House was occupied on March 14. And total occııpation began on the night of March 15. The most critical places .vere taken and controlled by soldiers. Early in the morning, some British troops attacked the headquarters building at Şehzadebaşı and opened fire on Ottoman soldiers. The city was completely occupied by noon. British troops attacked the Parliament House in the afternoon. But the Parliament survived until the Sultan dissolved it on April 11, then approximately 150 politicians were exiled to Malta. Istanbul witnessed some enormous demonstrations during the occupation and armistice years. A rally was held in Fatih square on May 19, 1919 where women addressed the public for the first time. There were more than 50 thousand people at the meeting. There was another rally of more than 150 thousand people in Sultanahmet square after the Parliament House was reopened. Students and staff of the Darülfünun (Faculty of Sciences) boycotted the school between April 10 and July 29, 1922. In addition to numerous demonstrations, another important development during this period was the establishment of some secret organisations working for independenee. Karakol Assocíation, Mim Group, and the National Defence (Müdafa-i Milliye) Organisation were the most important of these.

Among their aetivities they organised demons.rations, smuggled weapons, ammunitions and soldiers for the independence movement of Anatolia, and carried out intellígenct work. Istanbul's population was in constant movement in those years. On the one hand, some people were leaving the occupied city and migrating to the other cities of Anatolia which were not under occupation. On the other hand, so many people were migrating to lstanbul.

The Russian immigrants who were escaping from the Bolshevik Revolution had the most impact on tstanbul and its people. There were approximately 200,000 Russian immigrants. The Russian ladies' outfits were very welcomed by tstanbul's women and became the latest fashion. Istanbul's population, led by the Russians, went to the beach to swim for the first time during this period. In spite of the occupation, the night life of Istanbul was revitalised during this period. Concerts in cafes, theater companies and movie theaters became very attractive. Bars and pastry shops were introduced to lstanbul as an alternative to the taverns and desert houses. They brought a moral collapse too. Prostitution among the Russian women who worked at such entertainment places began to affect the city Workers' demonstrations and socialist activities were also revitalised. Many socialist and labor organisations were established. Strikes and other labor activities increased. May lst was celebrated as Labor Day in Istanbul for the first time during this period Turkish soldiers entered Izmir on October 9,1922. This began the liberation of Istanbul. Mudany,a Armistice, signed on October Il, itemised the gradual departııre of the occupation forces from Thrace. In Ankara, the Turkish Grand National Assembly decided to abolish the Sultanate on November l, 1922. Thus, Istanbul, for practical purposes, was no longer the capital, even though it legally remained so till October 1923. The last Ottoman Sultan, Vahideddin, left Istanbul on November 16, 1922. For the second time in its history -after the destructive Latin occupation of the l3th century- Western occupation forces completely withdrew from lstanbul. The last soldier left on November 4, 1923.


Osman Gazi 1299-1326
Sultan Orhan Gazi 1326-1359
Sultan Murad Hüdavendigar 1359-1389
Sultan Yıldırım Bayezid 1389-1403
Sultan Çelebi Mehmed 1413-1421
Sultan Murad II 1421-1451
Fatih Sultan Mehmed 1451-1481
Sultan Bayezid II 1481-1512
Yavuz Sultan Selim 1512-1520
Kanuni Sultan Süleyman 1520-1566
Sultan Selim II 1566-1574
Sultan Murad III 1574-1595
Sultan Mehmed III 1595-1603
Sultan Ahmed I 1603-1617
Sultan Mustafa I 1617-1623
Sultan Osman II 1617-1622
Sultan Murad IV 1623-1640
Sultan İbrahim I 1640-1648
Sultan Mehmed IV 1648-1687
Sultan Süleyman II 1687-1691
Sultan Ahmed II 1691-1695
Sultan Mustafa II 1695-1703
Sultan Ahmed 1703-1730
Sultan Mahmud I 1730-1754
Sultan Osman III 1754-1757
Sultan Mustafa III 1757-1774
Sultan Abdülhamid 1774-1789
Sultan Selim III 1789-1807
Sultan Mustafa IV 1807-1808
Sultan Mahmud II 1808-1839
Sultan Abdülmecid 1839-1861
Sultan Abdülaziz 1861-1876
Sultan Murad V 1876-1876
Sultan Abdülhamid II 1876-1909
Sultan Mehmed Reşad 1909-1918
Sultan Mehmed Vahideddin 1918-1922


The seas and the lands have divided the lacework geography of Istanbul into four regions. Old Istanbul City and Galata in the shores of Golden Horn (Haliç) and previously different village now united residential districts are located along the straits of Bosphorus. As the smallest sea of the world, inhabited places along the shores of Marmara Sea shows the magnitude that the city has reached. The Old City is spread over the seven hills of the triangular peninsular surrounded by 22 km of city walls.

Having been in the center of Old World, Istanbul is an important megapole with its historical monuments and wonderful natural scenery. Established where Asian and European Continents were split with a narrow strait, built on two continents, it is the only city that the sea goes through. With its history of over 2500 years, Istanbul had become an important commerce center because of its establishment in this strategic location where land meets sea. Historical city of Istanbul is located on a peninsular, surrounded by Marmara Sea, Bosphorus Straits and Golden Horn.

Istanbul is located in the coordinates of 280 01’ and 290 55’ East longitudes and 410 33’ and 400 28’ North latitudes. While joining Black Sea and Marmara Sea, Istanbul Straits divides Asian and European Continent as well as Istanbul City. The province is bordered by high summits of Kocaeli Mountain Ranges in the East, by Marmara Sea in the South and waterline of Ergene Basin in the West.

Being in the junction where all the roads reach sea, easily defendable peninsular, ideal climate, very rich and generous nature, strategic control of the Straits and strategic location of being in the center of world are all fortune of Istanbul. Istanbul has been of much significance throughout history because of being in the joining point of two continents, being the gateway to the hot climates and oceans and being outer reach of Silk Road extending to Europe.

The city had become the capital city of three great empires, namely Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Turks; and, was ruled by more than 120 emperor and sultans over 1600 years. Istanbul is the only city that has all these features. During its development, the city underwent expansion for four times, which all of them were westward. In the 5th century, there was an Istanbul which was surrounded by city walls of Romans and built over 7 hills.

But, the foundation of today’s Istanbul was grounded in 7th century B.C. Rebuilt by Emperor Constantine in 4th century A.D., the city had been transformed to capital city; since then, it had preserved that title for almost 16 centuries by hosting the capital cities of Rome, Byzantine and Ottomans. Being one of the centers of Christianity starting with Emperor Contantine, Istanbul was considered as one of the most important cities of Islamic World, after its conquest in 1453 by Ottomans.

During these periods of Empires’ reign, it was also the administrative center of the religions, undertaking the Patriarchy of Eastern Christianity till today, rising the first biggest church and monasteries of Christian World on top of pagan temples. Istanbul had assumed its Islamic ch
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