Thursday, January 26, 2012

History of Istanbul

I'm sitting on my bed with a headache. I didnt go to work today, hopefully will feel much better tomorrow. Well, just writing some stuff Ive read about Istanbul *history geek mode* I'm summarising, its open for discussion.

So basically, during the Roman empire, there was the East Roman empire. They wanted to break away and found out Istanbul was a good place. It was far from Rome and was in the middle of the Silk road. So they went there and built an empire. The King named it Constantinople, from his name Constantine and it became the capital of the Byzantine empire. This kingdom was huge and strong, spanning from east Italy, Greece, the upper area of the Black Sea and Constantinople. It was a strong empire that lasted several hundred years, from 395 until 1453 AD (the year the fall of Constantinople).

Touching about the fall is epic. Towards the end of the period, they were facing huge pressures from other empire, including from the Ottoman empire. At that time, Bursa (2 hours from Istanbul) was the capital of the Ottoman empire and large of Turkey now was already under the Ottoman. Constantinople was a strong area for anyone to conquer due to its strategic place, bridging Anatolia and Europe. It was also hard to attack, being geographically solid as one had to enter the Bosphorus strait, vulnerable to attacks from land. Several times, the Ottomans tried to attack Constantinople but to no avail. Until, came Fatih Sultan Mehmet, get this, at age 21, commanding the attack to finally break down and securing what is today a huge success in Muslim history. When he was 14, he was already the Caliph for 2 years, but had to step down due to some political problem as he was too young. He finally took the reign from February 1451 to 1481 at age 19. He grew up with the intent to conquer Constantinople, and was a fine Muslim. He was highly motivated by this authentic hadith by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him;

"Lataftahanna al-Qustantiniyya wa lani`ma al-amiru amiruha wa lani`ma
al-jayshu dhalika al-jaysh."

"Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will her
leader be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!"

In other words saying, whoever conquers Constantinople, is an awesome leader.

He was not only faithfully strong, brave (lead army at 21), but was also clever (fluent in several languages, including Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, and Latin).

Okay my head is killin me. I need to sleep. Just found another interesting piece from what else, wikipedia

Mehmed II's Firman on the freedom of the Bosnian Franciscans
"I, the Sultan Khan the Conqueror,
hereby declare the whole world that,
The Bosnian Franciscans granted with this sultanate firman are under my protection. And I command that:
No one shall disturb or give harm to these people and their churches! They shall live in peace in my state. These people who have become emigrants, shall have security and liberty. They may return to their monasteries which are located in the borders of my state.
No one from my empire notable, viziers, clerks or my maids will break their honour or give any harm to them!
No one shall insult, put in danger or attack these lives, properties, and churches of these people!
Also, what and those these people have brought from their own countries have the same rights...
By declaring this firman, I swear on my sword by the holy name of Allah who has created the ground and sky, Allah's prophet Mohammed, and 124,000 former prophets that; no one from my citizens will react or behave the opposite of this firman!"

This oath firman, which has provided independence and tolerance to the ones who are from another religion, belief, and race was declared by Mehmed II the Conqueror and granted to Angjeo Zvizdovic of the Franciscan monastery in Fojnica, after the conquest of Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 28 of 1463. The firman has been recently raised and published by the Ministry of Culture of Turkey for the 700th anniversary of the foundation of the Ottoman State.

The edict was issued by the Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror to protect the basic rights of the Bosnian Christians when he conquered that territory in 1463. The original edict is still kept in the same monastery in Fojnica.

It is one of the oldest documents on religious freedom. Mehmed II's oath was entered into force in the Ottoman Empire on May 28, 1463. In 1971, the United Nations published a translation of the document in all the official U.N. languages.

Peace out. May the spirit of Fatih Sultan Mehmet the conqueror run in our young bloods. Who says we cant make change to our country while we're young? This person conquered Constantinople at the age of 21.

p/s view from my balcony :)

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