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

Theatre of Dionysus

The theatre of Dionysos Eleuthereus was built in the 6th century BCE and is seen on the hill of the Acropolis in Athens. Modified and expanded over the centuries, it is the oldest Greek theatre and is the site where some of the most famous Greek plays from antiquity were first performed. In the 4th century BCE, the theatre reached its full extent, holding upto 17,000 people. It continued to flourish in the Roman era but fell into decline in the Byzantine era and thereafter. It was excavated and then resorted to its current condition in the 19th century. The … Continue reading Theatre of Dionysus

Chan Chan Ruins, Peru

Chan Chan, was the largest city in pre-Columbian America. It is situated in the Moche valley, between the Pacific Ocean and the city of Trujillo. Chan Chan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Chan Chan is believed to have been constructed around 850 AD and had an estimated population of 40,000–60,000 people. The central area of Chan Chan comprises ten extravagant walled citadels. Its walls are decorated in high relief with geometric motifs and shapes of fish and birds. The building material used was adobe brick, and the buildings were finished with mud frequently adorned with patterned … Continue reading Chan Chan Ruins, Peru

Maachu Pichu

Machu Picchu, site of ancient Inca ruins located about 50 miles northwest of Cuzco, Peru. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three sides by the Urubamba River some 610m below. In 1911 a Peruvian guide led Yale professor Hiram Bingham up a steep mountainside … Continue reading Maachu Pichu