Constantinople: The Gateway City
Constantinople was built in 330 CE, by the first Christian emperor, Constantine. Constantinople ruled much of the deserted Roman Empire many years after Constantine s death. Constantinople can be described as a Gateway City by its geographic features, the cultural influences, and the historical influences upon the rest of the world.
Constantinople was positioned upon a major seaport called Byzantium. The positioning of Constantinople was at a location between major trading routes to Europe and Asia. Constantinople controlled the Bosporous Strait, which was the junction of many trading routes to Europe. (Doc. A) The trading routes came from as far as Southeast Asia to North Africa. Two centuries after Constantinople was built, emperors in Constantinople still ruled the eastern part of the old Roman Empire. They still ruled this because Constantinople was a major trade route into the eastern part, and the troops in Constantinople could reach the eastern part quickly. The move to Constantinople was very wise and very effective.
Constantinople had some advantages as a crossroads, such as trade, political power, defense and for the spread of culture. (Doc. B) Nearly 300,000 people made their permanent homes in Constantinople. (Doc. C) The placement of Constantinople let the people enjoy many cultures of the world. There were only two requirements for citizenship: membership in a Christian Church and the ability to speak Greek. (Doc. C) With Constantine being a Christian, he believed that Christianity was the best religion for his city. Constantine was looking for the best for his city.
Many of the structures during Constantine s rule are considered architectural wonders of the world. Of those structures, the Hagia Sophia was built. The building itself has been a Christian church, a Muslim mosque, and a museum. (Doc. C) Across the street from the Hagia Sophia was the imperial palace. The imperial palace was the center for the government. The government was strong enough to hold out for over two centuries in Constantinople. Some of the structures of Constantinople have been standing for close to two thousand years.
Geographical features, cultural influences, and historic influences all affected Constantinople s success as a city. The moving of the capital had many changes for the Roman Empire, some for the better, others for the worst. Constantinople had many great buildings that were of major importance in the city. Constantinople s rise led to many corrections in the Roman Empire.