Constantinople Reconstructed: The City in All its Glory Just Before it Fell (photos)

Images of the city of Constantinople just before it fell to the Ottomans in 1453 have been created by archaeologists and published by Turkish magazine Κarar.

From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe.

It was famed for its architectural masterpieces, such as the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia, which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived; the Galata Tower; the Hippodrome; the Golden Gate of the Land Walls; and the opulent aristocratic palaces lining the arcaded avenues and squares.

The University of Constantinople was founded in the fifth century and contained numerous artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453, including its vast Imperial Library which contained the remnants of the Library of Alexandria and had over 100,000 volumes of ancient texts.

Constantinople was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom’s holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross.

After the final loss of its provinces in the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, and the city eventually fell to the Ottomans after a 53-day siege on 29 May 1453.