Which City Was Formerly Called Byzantium?

Istanbul was formerly known as Byzantium.
Istanbul was formerly known as Byzantium.

The Turkish city of Istanbul was previously known as Byzantium. It was an ancient city that later became Constantinople. Byzantium was an ancient Greek colony that was colonized from Megara in 657 BC. Byzantium served as the capital city of the Byzantine Empire and Roman Empire before becoming part of the Ottoman Empire from 1453 to 1923. Byzantium was situated on the European side of Turkey and the core of Istanbul.

The Origin Of The City Of Byzantine

Traditional legend claims that Byzas, the son of the King Nisus, founded the city in 667BC when he sailed across the Aegean Sea. Byzas had planned to establish a colony of Megara; therefore he consulted Apollo’s oracle in Delphi. The oracle instructed him to settle on the land that is directly opposite the "Land-of-the-Blind". Byzas with a group of colonists from Megara found a place where the Golden Horn met Bosporus before flowing into the Marmara Sea where he established Byzantium.

History Of Byzantine

The Persian Empire took over the city during King Darius’s Scythian campaign in 513BC. The first Persian Empire’s control of Byzantine was never stable, but it is considered to be one of their first ports on the European coast. The Greek forces besieged the city during the Peloponnesian war. Sparta took over Byzantium in 411BC as part of their strategy to cut off grain supply to Athens, but the Athenian forces took over the city later in 408BC. Byzantium was besieged and damaged in 196AD by Roman forces after it sided with Niger Pescennius against Severus Septimius.


Septimius rebuilt the city after becoming the emperor, and within no time Byzantium regained its former prosperity. Byzantium was bounded to Perinthos during the Severus’s eras. Emperor Constantine was attracted to the city, and after he restored peace in the empire, he decided to move the imperial residence from Rome to Byzantium. Constantine believed that the imperial’s residence was safer in Byzantium and from here he could easily access the Euphrates or Danube frontiers.

Constantine built the city over 6 years and consecrated it on May 11. 330BC. He divided the new city into 14 regions just like Rome and beautified it with buildings worthy of an imperial city. The city was renamed Constantinople after the death of Constantine in 337BC. Constantinople was a diplomatic, cultural, and commercial center. Its strategic position made it possible for the city to control all the main trade routes between Europe and Asia.


Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire and again became the capital of a powerful empire. Sultan Mehmed II captured Constantinople on May 29, 1453, after 8 weeks siege and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The grand cathedral was converted to a mosque, and the city’s name changed to Istanbul. Istanbul served as the capital city of the last caliphate for four centuries. The city had over 570,000 people by the end of the eighteenth century. Currently, Istanbul is the most populous Turkish city and the state’s historic, cultural, and economic center. It is one of the biggest cities on earth with over 15 million residents.


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