Byzantium – A Tale of Three Cities episode 2: In the second episode he explores modern Istanbul in search of the last desperate centuries of Christian Byzantium, in which the once glorious city was buffeted by enemies from both east and west and yet still produced a golden artistic renaissance. This is story of the Christian crusaders who destroyed the city, and the Ottoman Muslims who restored it to life as an imperial capital after the epic siege of 1453.
Series in which historian Simon Sebag Montefiore traces the sacred history of Istanbul. Known as the ‘city of the world’s desire’, it’s a place that has been the focus of passion for believers of three different faiths – Paganism, Christianity and Islam – and for nearly 3,000 years its streets have been the battleground for some of the fiercest political and religious conflicts in history.
Byzantium – A Tale of Three Cities episode 2
Istanbul, formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the most populous city in Turkey and the country’s economic, cultural and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosporus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives in suburbs on the Asian side of the Bosporus. With a total population of around 15 million residents in its metropolitan area, Istanbul is one of the world’s most populous cities, ranking as the world’s fourth largest city proper and the largest European city. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (coterminous with Istanbul Province).
Founded under the name of Byzantion, the city grew in size and influence, becoming one of the most important cities in history. After its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 CE, it served as an imperial capital for almost 16 centuries, during the Roman/Byzantine (330–1204), Latin (1204–1261), Palaiologos Byzantine (1261–1453) and Ottoman (1453–1922) empires. It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 CE and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate. Under the name Constantinople it was the Ottoman capital until 1923. The capital was then moved to Ankara and the city was renamed Istanbul.