The defences of Constantinople

Founded somewhere between the thirteen and fourteenth centuries before the time of Christ the site of modern day Istanbul has seen many changes to its name and inhabitants. However, one thing has always been the same; it is place for human habitation. Settled originally it is believed by the Thracian’s and called Lygos the tactical importance of the city for trade and defence has long been understood. It is gateway between the Middle East and Europe that grew rich and sought after by many tribes of humans and empires alike. It sits on a defensive horn shaped archipelago jutting out into the Sea of Marmara to the south and the southern mouth of the wide Bosphorus river to its north linking it to the Black Sea. It is the highlight of any trip to Turkey and should be visited if at all possible to sample its cosmopolitan and culture clashing style. Luxury Villas in Turkey are some of the best ways to stay there and a visit to will provide you with some ideas of where to stay.

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Following the Thracians it was the turn of the Greeks to hold the site. They named it Byzantium and it was part of a wider expanse by the Greeks up until the juggernaut that was the Roman Empire steamrollered over all others in its conquest of Western and Eastern Europe. Constantine decided that make the city the capital of the eastern Roman Empire with Rome as the capital of the western. This occurred in the year 324 and it soon rose to greater prominence than the original in Italy. Within two centuries it became the de facto capital of the Empire as the Western half slowly slide into decline. It also became the gateway for Christianity form the east as Constantine himself had converted and issued the edict of Milan that all of the Empire was now a Christian one. As a result the great Imperial Palace was built there along with the still standing Hagia Sofia a dual use place of worship for both those of  the Christian and Muslim faith.

The city attracted a lot of attention form pirates and marauders desperate to claim its riches. As a result the defences of the city were extraordinary for the time. It boasted three walls to protect its entrances from the mainland. The landscape itself lent well to defence and the first wall built on Constantine’s orders encircled the city completely so that it was protected from attack via land and sea. The second round of defences were built by Theodosian Walls followed with a 2 thick walls, a moat and palisades precluding it to ensure that any enemy was harangued and dissuaded to attack from the off.

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The defences held for nine hundred years until the fourth crusade and the armies of Frederick Barbarossa demanded entry and sacked it. It was recaptured and order restored but the end of Constantinople came completely in 1453 when the Ottoman Turks took the city after encircling it and reducing the Empire down to just the city and it’s near environs. It was renamed Istanbul and was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, till 1922

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