Helpful Historical Timeline of Istanbul:

Byzantium 660 B.C.-196 A.D. (Greek/Pagan):

Ancient Byzantium is mainly under Greek control through the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Periods of history.
    • 660 B.C. King Byzas leads colonists from the Greek city of Megara to settle Byzantium and build an Acropolis.
    • 411 B.C. Athenian Generals build first fort on the island of Maiden’s Tower expanding their influence in Byzantium.
    • 400 B.C. small groups of Phoenicians and Greeks settler settle on Yoros Hill just north of Modern Istanbul.
    • 30 B.C. Rome conquest of Egypt.
    • 110 B.C. Comnenos builds first tower on the island of Maiden’s Tower.
    • 149 B.C. Rome conquers Greece after winning the battle of Corinth.

Under Roman Rule 196 A.D.-330 A.D. (Roman/Pagan):

After having taken Greece the Romans take over Byzantium and builds it up as a Roman city.

    • 196 A.D. Roman Emperor Septimius Severus officially takes over Byzantium
    • 203 A.D. Emperor Severus builds the first wall around
      it for protection. Leader Caracalla also helped lay out the Greek city in a Roman layout during the 200’s.
    • 203 A.D. Emperor Septimius Severus also builds the first Hippodrome
    • 269 A.D. Emperor Claudius II defeated the Goths in Niš Serbia on the Danube.  Column for the victory added to the Greek Acropolis in Byzantium which can still be seen today.
    • 286 A.D. Emperor Diocletia divides the Roman Empire into East and West with Rome the Eastern Capital and Byzantium the Western Capital.
    • 324 A.D. Roman Emperor Constantine starts to re-build
      Byzantium in the model of Rome as his Nove Roma.  The Hippodrome is expanded, the Grand Palace built next to it, and a large Forum was added.  Constantine controlled both the Eastern and Western Empire.

Eastern Roman Empire – (Orthodox/Christian) (330-1204):

Capital of the Roman Empire is moved to Byzantium, Kingdom’s power is later split into East and West, and after Western part based in Rome falls the Empire and the Orthodox religion remain based out of Constantinople.

    • 330 A.D. Constantine decides to officially move the capital of the Roman Empire to Nova Roma. He also became the 1st Emperor to become Christian, but still had religious tolerance
    • 337 A.D. Emperor Constantine dies and the city takes the name Constantinople in his honor.
    • 350 A.D. Yoros Fortress built over Phoenicians and Greeks settlements on Yoros Hill
    • 360 A.D the 1st mega church at Hagia Sophia called Megale Ekklesia is built.
    • 368 A.D Aqueduct of Valens built to help bring water into town
    • 395 A.D. Theodosius I the Great dies, last to rule united Roman Empire, his son Arcadius was given the East and his son Honorius the West.  in 392 he had banned Pagan and made Christianity the official religion, 393 banned the Olympic games in Greece which didn’t come back until 1896
    • 404 A.D. huge revolt happens.  The 1st mega church at Hagia Sophia called Megale Ekklesia is destroyed and not rebuilt until 415 A.D.
    • 400’s A.D. Theodosian Walls built as city expands West
    • 480 A.D. Western Emperor Julius Nepos dies and Western Roman falls leaving only the Eastern Roman Empire
    • 507 A.D. First Galata Tower built although they didn’t occupy much across the Golden Horn
    • 532 A.D. Nika revolt in which half the city was burned and over 30,000 people died.
    • 532 A.D. Emperor Justinian had Basilica Cistern built to hold fresh water near expanding city center
    • 537 A.D current Hagia Sophia built by Emperor Justinian
    • 550 A.D. Emperor Justinian rebuilds the Church of the Holy Apostles as the center of the Orthodox religion which later inspired other grand churches like the Vatican.
    • 674 A.D. & 717 A.D. two separate strong siege attempts by Arab followers of Muhammad are stopped
    • 1000’s A.D. 1st Chora Church built.
    • 1054 A.D. Adoption of Orthodox Christianity considered Greek or Eastern today.
    • Theodosius II added columns to hippodrome and built Theodosian Walls

Latin Empire – Catholic Crusaders (1204-1261): 

A brief take over by Catholic Crusaders mainly from Italy

    • 1204 A.D. Catholic Knights of the 4th Crusade break the sea walls of Constantinople and sack the city.
    • 1204-1261 A.D. Latin Empire is formed and Church of the Holy Apostles, the Hippodrome, numerous Palaces are damaged.  Many relics and treasures are also taken from Constantinople’s buildings and sent to the main St Mark’s church in Venice Italy where they can still be seen today.

Eastern Roman Empire – Orthodox/Christian (1261-1453:

The Byzantines just never truly recovered from the Catholic occupation and though they do great things over the next 250 years they are slowly further weakened over time by the Ottomans.

    • 1261 Byzantines re-take Constantinople from the Catholics
    • 1300’s A.D. Ottomans take Greece from the Byzantines.
    • 1313 A.D. mosaics added to Chora Church
    • 1391 Ottomans briefly push Byzantines out of Yoros Castle as they start to advance on town
    • 1395 Ottomans build Anatolian Fortress on the Asian side and started building forces
    • 1452 Ottomans complete Rumelian Fortress on the European side directly across from Anatolian Fortress
    • Hippodrome, Grand Palace, Forum
    • Grand Bazaar shops start to spring up

Geneose People:

The Geneose never came close to controlling Istanbul but were sometimes a thorn in the side of the Byzantines and the Ottomans.

    • 1348 the Geneose rebuilt current Galata Tower out of stone in New Town as they expanded their settlement
    • 1419 take Yoros Fortress from the Ottomans and hold it fr 40 years before Ottoman got it back

Ottoman Empire – Muslim (1453-1922):

    • 1453 A.D. Sultan Faith Mehmet II conquers Constantinople killing Constantine XI and ending the Eastern Roman Empire. 8 week battle is added by treason when one of the City gates is opened.
    • 1454 A.D. First Ottoman Royal Residence built where Istanbul University sits today called Eski Palace (Old Palace).  Grand Bazaar starts being combined under one roof
    • 1459 A.D. Ottoman’s take Yoros Fortress back from the Ge
    • 1460-1478 A.D. Topkapi Palace and Harem built over former Greek Acropolis to replace Eski Palace.
    • 1481 A.D. Ottoman power grows to control all of modern Turkey, areas around the Black Sea and Greece
    • 1492 A.D. The Moorish Sultan and 200,000
      are Jews were kicked out Spain when Christian rulers took over in 1492.  The Ottomans welcome the Jews to settle in Istanbul.
    • 1517 A.D.Hagia Sophia turned into a Mosque.
    • 1517 A.D. Ottomans Conquer Egypt and much of North Africa and the big parts of the Middle East shortly after
    • 1500’s A.D. Many of the current Turkish bath houses are built on the locations of former Roman Baths.
    • 1616 A.D. Sultan Ahmet builds Blue Mosque over Byzantine Grand Palace in just 7 years
    • 1660 A.D. Spice Market opened, they control a lot of Egypt
    • 1853 A.D. Sultan moves royal Palace from Topkapi Palace to Dolmabahçe Palace
    • 1869 A.D. first tram in new town
    • 1875 A.D. Tünel Funicular opens in new town at the 3rd underground metro in the world
    • 1914-1918 A.D. Ottomans join the Central Powers in WWI and end up weakened on the loosing side of the war

Republic of Turkey – Muslim (1923-Present):

    • 1920 War of Independence starts
    • 1922 Ottomans out, 1923 Republic formed and 1st President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
    • 1930 Istanbul becomes official name
    • 1933 Peristyle courtyard from Constantine’s Great Palace found under bazaar with tons of mosaics
    • 1934 Hagia Sophia closed for as a place of worship after 1400 years and turned into a museum
    • 1947 Chora Church turned into Museum
    • 1952 Turkey Joins NATO