Rumeli Fortress, Istanbul

The Rumeli Fortress is located on the European side of the Bosphorus, directly opposite the Anatolian Castle which is on the Asian side. Construction began towards the end of 1451 and was completed in the beginning of 1452. The fortress was built by Sultan Mehmet II as part of his strategy to conquer Constantinople. He had fortresses built on the narrow part of the Bosphorus with the goal of cutting off maritime military and logistical relief that could potentially come to the Byzantines’ aid by way of the Bosphorus Strait. The fortification has one small tower, three main towers, and … Continue reading Rumeli Fortress, Istanbul

The Ottomans

After the end of the Byzantine empire, Istanbul (then Constantinople) fell back to the Roman Empire (Latin empire). The rift in the church between Rome and Byzantine significantly contributed to the decline of the city. It went financially bankrupt and the population declined. The glory days seen centuries ago was over. Constantinople was officially conquered by the Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed II on May 29, 1453, after a 53-day siege. During the siege, the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI, died while defending his city. Almost immediately, Constantinople was declared to be the capital of the Ottoman Empire and its … Continue reading The Ottomans

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia started off as an important Christian church before becoming a mosque and now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Museum). It was build in AD 537, during the reign of Justinian, seen above in the painting on the ceiling of the dome in the building. It is one of the most visited sites in Istanbul. During its time, it was the world’s largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire … Continue reading Hagia Sofia, Istanbul


The Byzantium Empire was founded by Constantine the Great in 324 who renamed the city to Constantinople. The city was officially proclaimed the capital of the Roman empire (Byzantine) in 330. Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 and then transformed the Roman empire into Christianity. In 381, during the reign of Theodosius I, the official state religion of the Roman Empire became Christianity, turning Constantinople into a thriving religious centre. The Byzantine style was quite distinctive with religious icons being quite popular along with a flat perspective and use of gold as a form of style. The split in the … Continue reading Constantinople

Istanbul: A brief History (The Early Years)

Istanbul has a rich history with multiple dynasties and kingdoms taking charge at some point. The city, as such, has had human settlements for over three thousand years. The earliest known name of Istanbul is Lygos, founded by Thracian tribes. It was first colonised by the Greeks in the 7th Century BCE and then by the Romans around 200 ACE. We then had the Byzantine empire and the Ottoman empire take over over time. The ‘city’ of Byzantium was then located at the same place as Lygos. On the European side there were two settlements: Lygos and Semistra .On the … Continue reading Istanbul: A brief History (The Early Years)

Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens

The Erechtheion or Erechtheum is an ancient Greek temple on the Acropolis of Athens which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The temple was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. Some have suggested that it may have been built in honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus was mentioned in Homer’s Iliad as a great king and ruler of Athens during the Archaic Period. The classical building has suffered its … Continue reading Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens