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Illustration from Hartmann Schedel's, Buch der Chroniken und Geschichten, 1493. Constantinople was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empires. It was founded in AD 330, at ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine I. The city was the largest and wealthiest European city of the Middle Ages. An inner wall was erected by Constantine I, and the city was surrounded by a triple wall of fortifications, begun during the 5th century by Theodosius II. The city was built on seven hills as well as on the Bosporus, and thus presented an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces, domes and towers. The Church of Hagia Sophia, the sacred palace of the emperors, the Hippodrome, and the Golden Gate were among the largest of the many churches, public edifices, and monuments lining the arcaded avenues and squares. 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, and in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II. The Ottoman sultans embellished Constantinople with many beautiful mosques, palaces, monuments, fountains, baths, aqueducts and other public buildings.
March 13th, 2013
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