Istanbul

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Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople. Been a long time gone, oh Constantinople. Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks! ~ The Four Tops
Take the skyline of Istanbul—enormous breasts, pathetic little willies, final revenge on Islam. I was so scared I had to crouch at the bottom of the boat when I saw it. ~ Angela Carter

Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, is the most populous city in Turkey. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorus Strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (coterminous with Istanbul Province), both hosting a population of around 14.7 million residents. Istanbul is one of the world's most populous cities and ranks as the world's 7th-largest city proper and the largest European city.

Quotes

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If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital. —Napoleon Bonaparte
  • If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte, as quoted in Istanbul, by Thomas F. Madden. Editor Hachette US, 2014. 9780143129691, as quoted in F. Madden, Thomas (November 7, 2014). Istanbul (in English). Penguin Random House.
  • Whoever possesses Constantinople ought to rule the world.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte, 1916, Napoleon In His Own Words (Napoleon Bonaparte), Original work in French by Jules Bertaut, Translated from French by Herbert Edward Law and Charles Lincoln Rhodes, Quote Page 145.
  • The kind of power mothers have is enormous. Take the skyline of Istanbul—enormous breasts, pathetic little willies, final revenge on Islam. I was so scared I had to crouch at the bottom of the boat when I saw it.
    • Angela Carter (1940-1992), British author, interview by Lorna Sage in New Writing, eds. Malcolm Bradbury and Judy Cooke (1992).
  • Istanbul, a universal beauty where poet and archeologist, diplomat and merchant, princess and sailor, northerner and westerner screams with same admiration. The whole world thinks that this city is the most beautiful place on earth.
    • Edmondo De Amicis, Constantinople
  • Would all of Europe soon go the way of northern India? By 1529, with the Turks besieging Vienna, this must have appeared a distinct possibility to some. In actual fact, the line then stabilized in northern Hungary and the Holy Roman Empire was preserved; but thereafter the Turks presented a constant danger and exerted a military pressure which could never be fully ignored. Even as late as 1683, they were again besieging Vienna. Almost as alarming, in many ways, was the expansion of Ottoman naval power. Like Kublai Khan in China, the Turks had developed a navy only in order to reduce a seagirt enemy fortress—in this case, Constantinople, which Sultan Mehmet blockaded with large galleys and hundreds of smaller craft to assist the assault of 1453. Thereafter, formidable galley fleets were used in operations across the Black Sea, in the southward push toward Syria and Egypt, and in a whole series of clashes with Venice for control of the Aegean islands, Rhodes, Crete, and Cyprus. For some decades of the early sixteenth century Ottoman sea power was kept at arm’s length by Venetian, Genoese, and Habsburg fleets; but by midcentury, Muslim naval forces were active all the way along the North African coast, were raiding ports in Italy, Spain, and the Balearics, and finally managed to take Cyprus in 1570–1571, before being checked at the battle of Lepanto.
    • Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500-2000 (1987)
  • The Ottoman Empire was, of course, much more than a military machine. A conquering elite (like the Manchus in China), the Ottomans had established a unity of official faith, culture, and language over an area greater than the Roman Empire, and over vast numbers of subject peoples. For centuries before 1500 the world of Islam had been culturally and technologically ahead of Europe. Its cities were large, well-lit, and drained, and some of them possessed universities and libraries and stunningly beautiful mosques. In mathematics, cartography, medicine, and many other aspects of science and industry—in mills, gun-casting, lighthouses, horsebreeding—the Muslims had enjoyed a lead. The Ottoman system of recruiting future janissaries from Christian youth in the Balkans had produced a dedicated, uniform corps of troops. Tolerance of other races had brought many a talented Greek, Jew, and Gentile into the sultan’s service—a Hungarian was Mehmet’s chief gun-caster in the Siege of Constantinople. Under a successful leader like Suleiman I, a strong bureaucracy supervised fourteen million subjects—this at a time when Spain had five million and England a mere two and a half million inhabitants. Constantinople in its heyday was bigger than any European city, possessing over 500,000 inhabitants in 1600.
    • Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500-2000 (1987)
  • In the heyday of the Byzantine Empire its rulers tried to manage affairs from Constantinople, either bringing foreign rulers to their court or conducting negotiations by letters and by envoys who acted as the self-styled “voice of kings.” In 1096 and 1097 the emperor Alexis Comnenos made a point of meeting the leaders of the First Crusade in his own palace, as did Manuel Comnenos when the Second Crusade arrived in 1147. But when Byzantium spiralled into decline in the fourteenth century, its emperors became as mobile as those of the late Roman Empire, and much less potent. Emperor Manuel II was reduced to touring the courts of Italy, France, Germany and England for help against the Ottoman Turks, handing out precious books and pieces of the supposed tunic of Christ as inducements. This was the diplomacy of desperation: Byzantium fell to the Turks in 1453, less than thirty years after Manuel’s death.
    • David Reynolds, Summits: Six Meetings that Changed the Twentieth Century (2007), p. 13
[edit]
  • Encyclopedic article on Istanbul on Wikipedia
  • Istanbul travel guide from Wikivoyage