My name is Istanbul, or formerly known as Constantinople or Byzantium. I have seen countless civilizations and societies and peoples. I have been a witness to the most ferocious of wars, the destruction of the most powerful states. Many cultures have left their footprint on my soil and many of them were buried by others. I protected great emperors and leaders and their people behind my mighty enchanted walls. I fed myself with diversity by attracting the greatest nations of the time. Let me take you on a journey you will never forget…
My story begins in the early ages when the first humans lived here 8720 years ago in the Neolithic period. I also beared people from the late Copper Age and I was decorated with a Golden Horn by the Phoenicians. I saw the human race rise from fire and build societies of their own, developing day by day.
The story continues with the Greek on the 7th century with the prophecy of the Oracle of Delphi. Byzas is the first head of states I was chosen to protect, he established the city of Byzantium on my incredibly beautiful Bosphorus. I saw a civilized peoples on my soil thriving in philosophy and science followed by political advances no other city has seen.
I was then conquered by the Roman Empire in the early 100s BC. My name was later changed to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine after the Roman Empire was divided into two. The Eastern Roman Empire also known as the Byzantine Empire was my land now and I became the capital of the Empire. I slowly became the center of commerce, culture, diplomacy, and strategy and my people flourished alongside me.
Many nations including the Turks and Islamic States tried to conquer me during the Byzantine times until one was successful- the Ottomans. They had tried to bring down my walls in the past but no Sultan had yet to break me. Until Mehmed the Second came. He destroyed my walls with novel technology. I knew from the start he was a genius and that he was too determined to fail. When he became victorious after a maneuver over Golden Horn, I knew he would be the start of an age.
After 400 years, I wasn’t feeling as strong as I had felt before. Neither my habitants or their leader had an influence great enough to sustain my walls. I knew a war was coming. Distant raiders from not so distant lands came upon me as if they were dark clouds, bringers of fury and grief. My lands were constricted, my Bosphorus was tamed and I was furious. When I heard the firmest of footsteps on my land, I was relieved. This man left my harbour on May 19th 1919. I immediately recognized those footsteps when they came back and I felt them fade. This was the evoked when the great rulers that protected me left this Earth.
Today I am not as strong as I were. I am home to 18 million that have been doing nothing but hurting me. They have been poisoning my waters, cutting down my forest, replacing them with polluting buildings and skyscrapers. These days, they are ready to cut me in half once again. I have shown them nothing but passion yet, they, are still treating me like a common piece of land. I hope this letter will help you understand that slashing me means butchering thousands. Animals, ecosystem, culture, history… Wake up like you woke up when you felt threatened 100 years ago. I am civilization, I am history and I warn you, I will not be taken down by some irrelevant society.