Last updated: 17 November, 2022
This important, layered city has seen a series of dramatic reincarnations, beginning life as Byzantium (founded c. 660 BC), before being renamed Constantinople in AD 330 (eastern capital of the Roman Empire).
The city finally became known as ‘Stamboul’, or Istanbul, during the Ottoman era, which began in the 15th century when it was captured by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II (aka “Mehmed the Conqueror”), ushering in an era of lavish Sultan-led rule.
In the course of its deliciously rich 1,800-year history, Istanbul has been the capital of three empires. Here East meets West head-on, in a mesmerising, evocative city that its people have always considered the centre of the world.
Yet Istanbul is not just about sightseeing and museums; right now it has as much urban buzz and excitement as any place on earth. Besides making a bold name for itself in art, music, fashion and design, the city is modernising at a breathtaking pace.
The people are lovely, the food is a delight and the city is one of the top shopping destinations on the planet.