First it was Byzantion – the city of Byzas. Then it was Constantinople – the city of Constantine. The vikings from the Varangian Guard called it Miklagard – the Great City. Its citizens called it The City – as no other European city deserved to be called that in comparison. The Turks called it Istanbul – a corruption of the Greek eis ten polin (to the city).
I imagine the conquerors were pointing at the city while asking very slowly in Turkish a random Greek peasant ‘What do you call that’, to which the peasant probably replied equally slowly in Greek ‘Yes, that way to the city’. Hence Istanbul.
An amazing place.
Click on the image to see all my Istanbul albums on picasa.