In 331 AD, the Romans moved its capital from Rome to Constantinople—now Istanbul—becoming the richest and largest city in Europe at its peak in the 12th century. Upon the city’s fall, the vast accumulated manuscripts in its library were smuggled to Italy and played a vital role in stimulating the Renaissance, which transitioned us to the modern world.
Founded by Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, it was the capital city of Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire. Constantinople was famed for its massive defenses. Although besieged on numerous occasions by various peoples, it was taken only in 1204 by the army of the Fourth Crusade, in 1261 by Michael VIII Palaiologos), and – finally – in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II.
It was also famed for architectural masterpieces such as the church of Hagia Sophia, the sacred palace of the emperors,the hippodrome, and the Golden Gate, lining the arcade avenues and squares.
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