This High Dynamic Range (HDR) video will appear in your browser as a “standard” HDTV. However, to watch the true HDR version on a large screen, you need OLED HDR-capable TV and one of two setups:
1. Apple TV 4K box connected to this TV. Start the app called Vimeo in Apple TV and search for “Constantinople. HDR”.
2. “Google Chromecast Ultra” device connected to this TV . Start the app called YouTube and search for “Constantinople. HDR”.
Byzantium was founded in 657 BC on the western side of the Strait of Bosporus, between the Black and the Mediterranean Sea. It has an excellent natural harbor, called Golden Horn, at an important location between Europe and Asia.
In 324 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine decided to establish a new capital of Roman Empire at Byzantium, which later became known as Constantinople.
When the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476AD, Constantinople became the capital of the Christian Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire. With its ups and downs it lasted for the next 1100 years until the Ottoman Turks under Mehmed II captured the city in 1453. The city is now part of Turkey and is known as Istanbul.
In 330 AD Constantine built his imperial palace at the new capital of the empire. The Great Palace of Constantinople, as it was called, was located between Hippodrome and Saint Sophia cathedral. There is nothing that remains from the Great palace today. In its place is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
In 1930s and 50s, archeologists discovered some of the palace mosaics. They are now at the Great Palace Mosaic Museum.
Two obelisks are all that remains from the Hippodrome. One of them is the Egyptian obelisk which was built in 1500 BC and was brought here in 390AD by Constantine. The other is usually referred to as the column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, after the emperor who restored it in the 10th century.
In the 5th century AD, at the southern end of the Great Palace, by the sea of Marmara emperor Theodosius II built the summer palace of the Byzantine emperors called Boukoleon. Currently there is a plan to restore the palace as an open-air museum.
The last residence of Byzantine emperors, starting from the 13th century, was the Palace of Porphyrogentius. It was opened as a museum in June of 2019.
The famous Constantinople city walls, which were finished by Theodosius the II in 413AD, protected the capital for almost a thousand years. The walls had three levels of fortification with a regular-interwall towers and a 66-foot-wide moat. The inner wall was 40 feet tall and 20 feet thick.
We found a good taxi driver who helped us film the Theodosian walls.
The so called sea wall, enclosed the city on the sides of the Sea of Marmara and the gulf of the Golden Horn.
About the churches of Constantinople. First St. Sophia – Hagia Sophia in Turkish or Ajia Sophia in Greek. The Wikipedia states that the cathedral was built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages. It was famous in particular for its massive dome. It was the world’s largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have “changed the history of architecture.” It remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. Unfortunately, people being as we are, the cathedral was not left as intended. It was first converted into a catholic church during the crusader invasion from 1204 to 1261, and then from 1453 used as a mosque for almost 500 years. It was open as a museum in 1935.
The second floor has several excellent frescos and mosaics.
A short walk south from Hippodrome is the Little St. Sophia. Built a couple of years before, it was a prototype of its bigger sister.
North of St. Sophia, just inside the Sultan’s Topkapi Palace grounds, is the church predating both St. Sophia churches. St. Irene was built by Constantine in 337 AD and served as the church of the Patriarchate before St. Sophia was completed. Today, due to its extraordinary acoustic characteristics, St. Irene serves mainly as a concert hall for classical music performances,.
And finally, when one is in Istanbul, one must see the Chora Church, now a museum. It is in the north-western part of the city, all the way near the walls of Constantinople. It is being restored now and is under a canopy.
The frescos and mosaics, depicting biblical passages, are breathtaking.
The interior of the building is covered with some of the oldest and finest surviving Byzantine stone mosaics and frescoes.
These travel videos will take you to ancient sites, like Olympia, Delphi, Athens’ Acropolis, and many more. Come along!
Articles, Photos, Images & Drawings
Grand Palace Reconstruction – Antoine Helbert, RealmofHistory.com
The Walls of Theodosius II – Giz19 (CC BY-SA)
Boukoleon Palace – History.com
Palace of Porphyrogentius – #tekfur
Chora Church – Trip.com
Numerous Entries – Wikipedia.com
Numerous Entries – Google Maps
Dreams of Italy and Greece – CaseInPoint
Greek Tragedy – USEITMUSIC
Helios – Lynnepublishing
Temples of Babylon – MarcusBresslerMusic