“Istanbul was Constantinople,” sing the music group They Might Be Giants, “Now its Istanbul, not Constantinople.” As for why it changed — “That’s nobody’s business but the Turks”. In fact it is well known why the Turks renamed the city – Constantinople was named after the Roman Emperor Constantine, the first emperor to convert to Christianity. There was no love lost between the Romans (and their successors) and the Turks.
On this day, March 28, in 1930, after the Turkish republic formed from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, the most most famous city in Turkey lost its capital status and was renamed Istanbul, which derives from the ancient Greek word for “the city.”
Reflecting is ancient roots, there is still another name for the city: Byzantium. According to legend it was founded by Greek colonists in the sixth century B.C., whose leader was guided to the location following an oracle’s advice. Considering the city’s two-and-a-half thousand year legacy, it’s safe to say the oracle made the right choice.