Istanbul: Crossroads of Civilization
Because of its unique position where Asia and Europe meet, the area around Istanbul has long played an important role in world history. Perhaps no other city has been so central to the march of civilization. As capital of the Byzantine empire for more than a thousand years (from 330 to 1453) it was a leading city of the world. Now in the 21st century, Istanbul is once again growing rapidly and contributing much to East - West dialogue.
Milestones in Istanbul's crossroads role:
50,000 BC Humans living in central Asia become the ancestors of both Europeans and Siberians/ North American Indians
9000 World's earliest towns/ agricultural societies form nearby on hills by the Euphrates river
6000 Noah's flood in the Bible is likely caused by water pouring into the Black Sea, as the waters of the Mediterranean carve out the Bosporus straits, separating Europe from Asia
2000 Those living near Istanbul could be part of the Sea Peoples who trade with early civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean and attack ancient Egypt
1500 Warriors from north of the Black Sea (Indo-Europeans) conquer both north India and the northern Mediterranean, including areas like Greece and Italy.
1200 Trojan war is fought, largely over control of trade from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea
667 Colonists from Athens and other Greek cities establish a town at the Golden Horn. The expedition is led by Byzas, whose name is later given to the Byzantine empire
67 BC Byzas' town becomes part of the Roman Empire
330 AD Constantine makes Byzas's town the capital of the Roman Empire, renamed Constantinople
537 Emperor Justinian dedicates Hagia Sophia church, most spectacular building in the world. Silk route trade with China and Mediterranean conquests bring huge wealth to Constantinople, making it theleading city of the world.
1071 Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantine army at Manzikert, ending Constantinople's second period as theleading city of the world.
1203 Soldiers of the Fourth Crusade sack Constantinople
1453 Constantinople falls to the Turks and is renamed Istanbul
1880 Istanbul is the terminus of the Orient Express train and much East-West trade
2000 Istanbul becomes the largest city in Europe and is a model for other developing Muslim cities
Go to:Unproven, but likely theories on human development
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