July 2010
Billie Silvey
Istanbul (Not   
Exterior (above)
and interior (right)
views of the Blue
In 1990, the alternative rock band "They Might Be Giants" released a
song called "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" on their album

Originally recorded by the Canadian group, The Four Lads in 1953, it
was TMBG's first gold record.   The swing-style song, with lyrics by
Jimmy Kennedy and music by Nat Simon, referred to the change of the
name of the city in 1924:

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

Emperor Constantine had made Constantinople
a center of Christianity, and when it was
conquered  by the
Ottomans under Mehmet I
in 1453, it became the most important center of Islam.

Sultan Mehmet began construction of
Topkapi Palace, a complex of
buildings on three courtyards surrounded by a five-kilometer wall, which
served as the center of administrative affairs, site of the University of the
Sultan for the training of administrators, and living quarters for the Sultan.

The largest and oldest palace in the world, it occupies 700,000 square
meters at the tip of the peninsula. It now serves as a museum, reflecting
the development of Turkish art and architecture with its distinctive
turquoise (color of the Turks) tilework and decorative arches and
divans, the forerunner of our couches.

Ottoman Empire ruled for 622 years over Asian, European and
African lands around the Mediterranean.  When
Ataturk founded the
Turkish Republic in 1924, he  moved the capital to Ankara and changed
the name
of Constantinople to Istanbul, which remains the trade, art and cultural
center of Turkey.
The distinctive and
modern underwater
hotel in Istanbul
Sultan Mehmet I leads Turkish
troops into Constantinople in 1453.
The skyline of Istanbul.
The Covered
Market in
Istanbul (left);
spices in the Spice
Market (above).
Topkapi Palace
(left), with its
throne room
(below) and tiles
and stained glass