Ottoman What and Byzantine Who?
Obviously i can't describe the entire history of a country. (Unless it's Canada = Europeans took land and killed the Native American people.) So for Turkish history, let me attempt to summarize this.
So let's start in the 11th-12th century. This was the time of the Seljuk Dynasty. Basically a Persian influenced group of Turks who eventually in turn, influenced the Ottoman Empire.
Around this place in history was also when the crusades happened. (Great, now time to summarize the crusaders.) I believe that they're made of a bunch of wars including the Christian knights and peasants. The crusades began when the Seljuk Dynasty took Jerusalem from the Greek Orthodox which forced the Greek Orthodox people to call on the Pope who released the Crusades. Confusing? Yes. I wholeheartedly agree. Might have gotten some of this history wrong but this is what i had understood. Oh well. Moving on.
There were many crusades and the Fourth one led to the sacking of Constantinople (1203-1204.) This was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. (Constantinople became Istanbul later on in history.) The Byzantine Empire is also known as Eastern Roman Empire. And Constantinople became their capital when the Roman Empire split. The Byzantine Empire were Christians. The Crusader were also christians. The problem was that one group was Catholic and another was Greek Orthodox. Religion is normally the main recipe for cooking up some conflict.
So guess what happened? They fought. Actually that is an underestimation. The invaders looted the city and people rampaged the streets. Stealing anything that looked valuable or shiny. Brutally raped and- Too much detail? Alright, NEXT.
There was a christian church in Constantinople which was especially shiny and covered in jewels. It was like someone wrote "LOOT ME" on it. The total cost stolen from the city was around 900,000 silver marks. Equal to 50,000 pounds of gold. This a happened in the 13th century. And the church is still standing today. (Below, looking much less shiny)
It's called the Hagia Sophia which was transformed from a christian church to a mosque. How did it convert? Well, the Ottoman Empire came in in the midst of all the looting and complete chaos. By now, everyone was desperate for better life and they agreed for the Ottomans to take Constantinople. And just like that, the chaos was resolved.
(Pause from the story telling, look at the gold decorated ceiling and colourful jewels.)
As i was saying, the civilians of Constantinople were quickly converted to Islam. So the Ottomans covered up all the christian art in the Hagia Sophia and added a few of their own sayings from prophets. When we visited the monument, it was a cool mixture of Christianity and Islam. And some of the modern world, because there were some scaffolding on the opposite wall.
Just an additional fact.
So then mosques were soon everywhere. As the capital of the Ottoman Empire since 1453 they now have over 3000 mosques. Not even joking. And we know it's true because every day at 3:00am, 5:00am, i think at around noon, 5:00pm, 8:00pm and 10:00pm the mosques issue from the speakers loud sounds. The call to prayer. We visited one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul.
Sultanahmet (The Blue Mosque.) This 17th-century mosque, has six slim minarets distinguish it from other mosques, which normally have two or four minarets. (The slender towers.) And, entrance into the mosque was for free! As i show more of these photos, i'll skip to another time in history...
Like all ruling powers, they lose their power over things. And that's what happened with the Ottoman Empire. After 600 years of power, the sultans of the empire were soon distanced from the governors who had other thoughts and ideas. So there. Turkey once again was in a mess. Although it wasn't called Turkey back then. So how did it restore?
Everything was remade through an amazing man named Mustafa. It seems that a lot of good things come from that sort of word or name. Moussaka (Greek sort of lasagna) and then there's Mufasa from the Lion King. Sorry, had to make this connection. Anyways, we've seen his monument in Taxim Square, asked our friend Sinan about it. (Read my other Istanbul blog for more info.) Sinan said that this is the most amazing idol for the Turkish people. And the Turks love him.
So through the restoration of the new country, Ataturk had to create a whole entire new language. Because before, when the Ottoman Empire was in power, they spoke Arabic. And Ataturk did it. He created a whole new language. Turkish. European-style laws came into being, and the office of the sultan was abolished. And Turkey, then became a democratic country. Thanks Google for the photo!
Down below are some photos of our short trip to the Topkapi Palace. "Back in the day" it served as the headquarters for the Ottoman sultans and important people. There was a harem to raise young ladies. They were raised for one objective. To become fit enough for the Sultan's future wife. Guess which one was their room.
RIGHT! It's the right one! (Realize that no matter how you answered this question, my response would make sense?) Anyways, the one of the left was the room for the lady who is training the girls. And the one on the right was their music room.
We visited the artifacts museum in Istanbul and they have 4 big buildings (or 3, not sure because we didn't go through all of them.) And they have artifacts from the 1st year B.C. Pretty amazing until visiting Greece but this museum is incredibly vast.
There are sometimes artifacts from places where it has almost no relation to the Turkish part of history. But does it? I had to ask myself the question, how did Istanbul accumulate all these artifacts. It soon narrowed down to the fact that the Ottoman Empire when it had conquered many countries probably took all their ancient artifacts.
For example, this panorama below is a photo of some of the artifacts from SYRIA. Which are all right now destroyed by the war and that exhibit in Istanbul is all that's left of them.
There were also numerous churches with a magical golden setting.
In reality, the cistern looked like this (below) but our camera is really good at capturing light. Yes, for only this time did the camera see better than my eyes. AND ZOOM DOESN'T COUNT!
Photography in the cistern. Turned out looking like it was meant for an art gallery.
Next, we visited a cistern. An enormous space roughly the size of two football fields but mosts of it was blocked off to visitors because of restoration. This cistern is where the fountains of Istanbul (Constantinople really,) drew their water from. There are 2 medusa heads inside for...evil decoration? Actually, the actual reason is unknown so i like to think that the medusa just hates tourists.
The Basilica Cistern was built using 336 columns, most of them were made from salvaged fragments of old temples. An enormous space—roughly the size of two football fields.
This is all just a small part of Istanbul's museums. And did this blog take up a small bit of May? NO! It did no, which means i gotta get going with...the rest of Turkey! Can't wait to begin and hopefully the next wait will not be as long as the last one!