Names of Istanbul

The city of Istanbul has been known by a number of different names. The most notable names besides the modern Turkish name are Byzantium, Constantinople, and Stamboul. Different names are associated with different phases of its history and with different languages.

Names in historical sequence


According to Pliny the Elder the first name of Byzantium was Lygos.[1] This may have been the name of a Thracian settlement situated on the site of the later city, near the point of the peninsula (Sarayburnu).[2]


Byzantion (Βυζάντιον), Latinized as Byzantium, was founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC. The name is believed to be of Thracian or Illyrian origin and thus to predate the Greek settlement.[2] It may be derived from a Thracian or Illyrian personal name, Byzas.[3]:352ff Ancient Greek legend refers to a legendary king of that name as the leader of the Megarean colonists and eponymous founder of the city.

After its fall, the name "Byzantine Empire" started being used by the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire whose capital the city had been. This usage was introduced by the German historian Hieronymus Wolf in 1555, a century after the empire had ceased to exist. During the time of the empire, the term Byzantium was used only for the city, not for the empire that it ruled.

Augusta Antonina

The city was called Augusta Antonina (Greek: Αυγούστα Αντωνινή) for a brief period in the 3rd century AD. The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (193–211) conferred the name in honor of his son Antoninus, the later Emperor Caracalla.[4]

New Rome

Before the Roman emperor Constantine the Great made the city the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire on May 11, 330, he undertook a major construction project, essentially rebuilding the city on a monumental scale, partly modeled after Rome. Names of this period included ἡ Νέα, δευτέρα Ῥώμη "the New, second Rome",[5][6] Alma Roma  Ἄλμα Ῥώμα, Βυζαντιάς Ῥώμη, ἑῴα Ῥώμη "Eastern Rome", Roma Constantinopolitana.[3]:354

The Third Canon of the First Council of Constantinople (360) refers to the city as New Rome.[7]

The term "New Rome" lent itself to East–West polemics, especially in the context of the Great Schism, when it was used by Greek writers to stress the rivalry with (the original) Rome. New Rome is also still part of the official title of the Patriarch of Constantinople.[8]

Constantinople late 19th century
A postcard, c. 1905, refers to the city as Constantinople, and the inner city as Stamboul.


Kōnstantinoúpolis (Κωνσταντινούπολις), Constantinopolis in Latin and Constantinople in English, was the name by which the city became soon more widely known, in honour of Constantine the Great who established it as his capital. It is first attested in official use under Emperor Theodosius II (408–450).[4] It remained the principal official name of the city throughout the Byzantine period, and the most common name used for it in the West until the early 20th century. It was also used (including its Kostantiniyye variant) by the Ottoman Empire until the advent of the Republic of Turkey.[9]

Other Byzantine names

Besides Constantinople, the Byzantines referred to the city with a large range of honorary appellations, such as the "Queen of Cities" (Βασιλὶς τῶν πόλεων), also as an adjective, Βασιλεύουσα, the 'Reigning City'. In popular speech, the most common way of referring to it came to be simply the City (Greek: hē Polis, ἡ Πόλις, Modern Greek: i Poli, η Πόλη). This usage, still current today in colloquial Greek and Armenian (Պոլիս, pronounced "Polis" or "Bolis" in the Western Armenian dialect prevalent in the city), also became the source of the later Turkish name, Istanbul (see below).

Istanbul by Piri Reis
A map by Piri Reis, c. 1525, refers to the city as Kostantiniyye


Kostantiniyye (Arabic, Persian قسطنطنية, translit. Qusṭanṭīniyya, Ottoman Turkish قسطنطينيه, translit. Ḳosṭanṭīnīye)[10] is the name by which the city came to be known in the Islamic world. It is an Arabic calqued form of Constantinople, with an Arabic ending meaning 'place of' instead of the Greek element -polis. After the Ottoman conquest of 1453, it was used as the most formal official name in Ottoman Turkish,[11] and remained in use throughout most of the time up to the fall of the Empire in 1923. However, during some periods Ottoman authorities favoured other names (see below).


Cedid Atlas, the first published atlas in the Ottoman Empire, dated 1803, refers to the city as İstanbul. Second map refers to the Bosphorus as İstanbul Boğazı (Istanbul Strait)

Cedid Atlas (World) 1803
Cedid Atlas (Greece and the Balkans) 1803

The modern Turkish name İstanbul (pronounced [isˈtanbuɫ]) (Ottoman Turkish: استانبول‎) is attested (in a range of variants) since the 10th century, at first in Armenian and Arabic (without the initial İ-) and then in Turkish sources. It derives from the Greek phrase "στην Πόλη" " [stimˈboli], meaning "in the city" or "to the city", reinterpreted as a single word;[12][13] a similar case is Stimboli, Crete.[14] It is thus based on the common Greek usage of referring to Constantinople simply as The City (see above).

The incorporation of parts of articles and other particles into Greek placenames was common even before the Ottoman period: Navarino for earlier Avarino,[15] Satines for Athines, etc.[16] Similar examples of modern Turkish placenames derived from Greek in this fashion are İzmit, earlier İznikmit, from Greek Nicomedia, İznik from Greek Nicaea ([iz nikea]), Samsun (s'Amison from "se" and "Amisos"), and İstanköy for the Greek island Kos (from is tin Ko). The occurrence of the initial i- in these names, including Istanbul's, is largely secondary epenthesis to break up syllabic consonant clusters, prohibited by the phonotactic structure of Turkish, as seen in Turkish istasyon from French station or ızgara from the Greek schára.[12]

Anavatan 1927
A 1927 map of Turkey, where the name İstanbul is used

İstanbul was the common name for the city in normal speech in Turkish even before the conquest of 1453, but in official use by the Ottoman authorities other names, such as Kostantiniyye, were preferred in certain contexts. Thus, Kostantiniyye was used on coinage up to the late 17th and then again in the 19th century. The Ottoman chancelery and courts used Kostantiniyye as part of intricate formulae in expressing the place of origin of formal documents, such as be-Makam-ı Darü's-Saltanat-ı Kostantiniyyetü'l-Mahrusâtü'l-Mahmiyye.[17] In 19th century Turkish book-printing it was also used in the impressum of books, in contrast to the foreign use of Constantinople. At the same time, however, İstanbul too was part of the official language, for instance in the titles of the highest Ottoman military commander (İstanbul ağası) and the highest civil magistrate (İstanbul efendisi) of the city,[18] and the Ottoman constitution of 1876 states that "The capital city of the Ottoman State is İstanbul".[19] İstanbul and several other variant forms of the same name were also widely used in Ottoman literature and poetry.[4]

Names other than استانبول (İstanbul) had become obsolete in the Turkish language during the late Ottoman/early republican periods. However, Constantinople was still used when writing the city's name in Latin script. In 1928, the Turkish alphabet was changed from Arabic script to Latin script. After that, Turkey started to urge other countries to use Turkish names for Turkish cities, instead of other transliterations to Latin script that had been used in the Ottoman times.[20] Letters or packages sent to "Constantinople" instead of "Istanbul" were no longer delivered by Turkey's PTT, which contributed to the eventual worldwide adoption of the new name.

In English the name is usually written "Istanbul". In modern Turkish the name is written "İstanbul" (dotted i/İ and dotless ı/I being two distinct letters in the Turkish alphabet).


Stamboul or Stambul is a variant form of İstanbul. Greek for 'the town'. Like Istanbul itself, forms without the initial i- are attested from early on in the Middle Ages, first in Arabic sources of the 10th century[21] and Armenian ones of the 12th. Some early sources also attest to an even shorter form Bulin, based on the Greek word Poli(n) alone without the preceding article.[22] (This latter form lives on in modern Armenian.) The word-initial i- arose in the Turkish name as an epenthetic vowel to break up the St- consonant cluster, prohibited in Turkish phonotactics.

Stamboul was used in Western languages as an equivalent of İstanbul, until the time it was replaced by the official new usage of the Turkish form in the 1930s. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Western European and American sources often used Constantinople to refer to the metropolis as a whole, but Stamboul to refer to the central parts located on the historic peninsula, i.e. Byzantine-era Constantinople inside the walls.[23][24]

Cedid Atlas (Middle East) 1803
An 1803 map from Cedid Atlas refers to the city as Islambol (though the Bosphorus is called the Istanbul Strait on the map)


Islambol (اسلامبول, Full of Islam) or Islambul (find Islam) or Islam(b)ol (old Turkic: be Islam), both in the Turkish language, were folk-etymological adaptations of Istanbul created after the Ottoman conquest of 1453 to express the city's new role as the capital of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. It is first attested shortly after the conquest, and its invention was ascribed by some contemporary writers to Sultan Mehmed II himself.[4] Some Ottoman sources of the 17th century, most notably Evliya Çelebi, describe it as the common Turkish name of the time. Between the late 17th and late 18th centuries, it was also in official use. The first use of the word "Islambol" on coinage took place in 1703 (1115 AH) during the reign of Sultan Ahmed III. The term Kostantiniyye still appeared, however, into the 20th century.

Other Ottoman names

Ottomans and foreign contemporaries, especially in diplomatic correspondence, referred to the Ottoman imperial government with particular honorifics. Among them are the following:[25]

  • Bāb-i ʿĀlī (باب عالی, "The Sublime Porte"); A metonym referring to the gate of Topkapı Palace.
  • Der-i Devlet (در دولت "Abode of the State")
  • Der-i Saʿādet (در سعادت "Abode of Felicity" or "Abode of Eudaimonia")
  • Āsitāne (آستانه "Threshold"); Referring to the imperial court.
  • Pāy-taḫt or sometimes Pāyitaḫt (پای تخت, "The Seat/Base of the Throne")

The "Gate of Felicity", the "Sublime Gate", and the "Sublime Porte" were literally places within the Ottoman Sultans' Topkapı Palace, and were used metonymically to refer to the authorities located there, and hence for the central Ottoman imperial administration. Modern historians also refer to government by these terms, similar to popular usage of Whitehall in Britain. The sublime Gate is not inside Topkapı palace; the administration building whose gate is named Bâb-ı Âlî is between Agia Sofia and Beyazit mosque, a huge building.[26]

Historical names in other languages

Many peoples neighboring on the Byzantine Empire used names expressing concepts like "The Great City", "City of the Emperors", "Capital of the Romans" or similar. During the 10th to 12th century Constantinople was one of the largest two cities in the world, the other being Baghdad.

Old Norse

The medieval Vikings, who had contacts with the Byzantine empire through their expansion through eastern Europe (Varangians) used the Old Norse name Miklagarðr (from mikill 'big' and garðr 'wall' or 'stronghold'), later Miklagard[27] and Micklegarth.[28] This name lives on in the modern Icelandic name Mikligarður and Faroese Miklagarður.


East and South Slavic languages referred to the city as Tsarigrad or Carigrad, 'City of the Tsar (King)', from the Slavonic words tsar ('Caesar' or 'King') and grad ('city'). Cyrillic: Царьград, Цариград. This was presumably a calque on a Greek phrase such as Βασιλέως Πόλις (Basileos Polis), 'the city of the emperor [king]'. The term is still occasionally used in Bulgarian, whereas it has become archaic in Russian, and Macedonian. In Croatian, Serbian and Slovene, Carigrad is a living alternative name for the modern city, as well as being used when referring to the historic capital of the medieval Roman Empire or the Ottoman Empire. In Czech (a West Slavic language) this Slavic name is used in the form Cařihrad (used in the 19th century, now only occasionally). It was also borrowed from the Slavic languages into Romanian in the form Țarigrad, though Constantinopole remained the far more widely preferred term.

Persian, Hindustani, and Arabic

Besides Kustantiniyyah, Persian, Arabic and other languages of the Islamic world used names based on the title Cesar ('Emperor'), as in Persian and Hindi-Urdu Kayser-i Zemin,[4] or on the ethnic name Rum ('Romans'), as in Arabic Rūmiyyat al-kubra ('Great City of the Romans') or Persian Takht-e Rum ('Throne of the Romans').[22]


The city is referred as Kostandina or Kostantina (an alteration of Kostantiniyye) and more often as its short form Kosta (קושטה) or Kostán in most Judaeo-Spanish publications during the Ottoman period.[29][30] Kosta was the name for the entire province of Istanbul, while the word Estambol was used for the area of the old city and Pera. Today the word Kosta is restricted only for historical purposes and is no more in common use.

The word Estambol has widened in meaning to include exclusively the entire European side of Istanbul. The Asian side is usually not considered as Estambol, however the expression la civdad de Estambol would encompass the boundaries of the present-day city. There are few expression denoting the Asian side. Anatol, from Anatolia and Asya, meaning Asia are common words to denote the Asian side of Istanbul. Moreover, el otro lado (literally the other side) is a quite simplistic and descriptory expression for the Asian side of Istanbul, especially for those living in the European side. Those living in the Asian side however do not use this expression to denote the European side, but simply call it Estambol. The inhabitants are called Estambulí or Estambullí.[30]


In Hebrew, the city was sometimes referred to as "Kushtandina" קושטנדינה‬, and sometimes "Kushtandina Rabati" קושטנדינה רבתי‬, literally, Great Kushtandina, or shortened to "Kushta" קושטא‬, probably due to a distorted pronunciation of the Judaeo-Spanish Kostandina. This usage was common among non-Sephardic Jews until the early 20th century; however, in present-day Israel it has virtually disappeared, replaced by the Hebrew transliteration of the Turkish "Istanbul" (איסטנבול‬).


  • Lumi city 魯迷城 (Lumi 魯迷 is the Chinese pronunciation of Rûm or Rumi) during the Ming dynasty
  • Wulumu 務魯木 (originates from Rûm or Rumi), during the Qing dynasty
  • Gongsidangdinebole 拱斯當底訥伯勒 during the Qing dynasty
  • Kangsitanyinuoge'er 康思坦貽諾格爾 during the Qing dynasty
  • Junshitandingbao 君士坦丁堡 modern transcription of Constantinople, used when referring to the city in a historical sense

Present-day Chinese use transcriptions of the name Istanbul (Yisitanbu'er 伊斯坦布尔 or Yisitanbao 伊斯坦堡) when referring to the modern city.

Modern languages

Most modern Western languages have adopted the name Istanbul for the modern city during the 20th century, following the current usage in the Turkish Republic. However, many languages also preserve other, traditional names. Greeks continue to call the city Constantinople (Κωνσταντινούπολη Konstantinupoli in Modern Greek) or simply "The City" (η Πόλη i Poli). Languages that use forms based on Stamboul include Russian, Polish (though the alternative form of Istambuł is also universally accepted and employed in many translations), Latvian, Lithuanian, Georgian and Albanian. The Albanian form is Stamboll; the Spanish form is Estambul; the Portuguese form is Istambul, with an m instead of an n; the Hungarian form is Isztanbul with an extra z because if it was omitted, Hungarians would mispronounce the name as "Ishtanbul". Armenian uses Bolis, based on the Greek Poli(s) 'City'. Icelandic preserves the old Norse name Mikligarður, though the form Istanbúl is generally used. In Slovene Carigrad is still largely used and often preferred over the official name.[31]

See also


  1. ^ Pliny the Elder, book IV, chapter XI:
    "On leaving the Dardanelles we come to the Bay of Casthenes, ... and the promontory of the Golden Horn, on which is the town of Byzantium, a free state, formerly called Lygos; it is 711 miles from Durazzo, ..."
    Archived 2017-01-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b Janin, Raymond (1964). Constantinople byzantine. Paris: Institut Français d'Études Byzantines. p. 10f.
  3. ^ a b Georgacas, Demetrius John (1947). "The Names of Constantinople". Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 78: 347–67. doi:10.2307/283503. JSTOR 283503.
  4. ^ a b c d e Necdet Sakaoğlu (1993/94a): "İstanbul'un adları" ["The names of Istanbul"]. In: 'Dünden bugüne İstanbul ansiklopedisi', ed. Türkiye Kültür Bakanlığı, Istanbul.
  5. ^ According to the Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, vol. 164 (Stuttgart 2005), column 442, there is no evidence for the tradition that Constantine officially dubbed the city "New Rome" (Nova Roma or Nea Rhome). Commemorative coins that were issued during the 330s already refer to the city as Constantinopolis (see, e.g., Michael Grant, The climax of Rome (London 1968), p. 133).
  6. ^ The 5th-century church historian Socrates of Constantinople writes in his Historia Ecclesiastica, 1:16 (c. 439) that the emperor named the city "Constantinople" while decreeing that it be designated a "second Rome" (‘Κωνσταντινούπολιν’ μετονομάσας, χρηματίζειν ‘δευτέραν Ῥώμην’ νόμῳ ἐκύρωσεν).
  7. ^ "The Seven Ecumenical Councils | Christian Classics Ethereal Library". 2005-06-01. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  8. ^ Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
  9. ^ Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream, (Basic Books, 2005), 57; "Istanbul was only adopted as the city's official name in 1930..".
  10. ^ İnalcık 1997, p. 224.
  11. ^ G. Necipoğlu. "From Byzantine Constantinople to Ottoman Kostantiniyye: Creation of a Cosmopolitan Capital and Visual Culture under Sultan Mehmed II" Ex. cat. "From Byzantion to Istanbul: 8000 Years of a Capital", June 5 – September 4, 2010, Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul. Istanbul: Sakip Sabanci Museum, 2010 p. 262
  12. ^ a b Marek Stachowski, Robert Woodhouse, "The Etymology of İstanbul: Making Optimal Use of the Evidence" Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia 20: 221–245 (2015) doi:10.4467/20843836SE.15.015.2801
  13. ^ An alternative derivation, directly from Constantinople, was entertained as an hypothesis by some researchers in the 19th century but is today regarded as obsolete; see Sakaoğlu (1993/94a: 254) and Stachowski for references.
  14. ^ Demetrius John Georgacas, "The Names of Constantinople", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 78:347–367 (1947) JSTOR 283503, p. 360, footnote 80
  15. ^ Detailed history at Pylos#The Name of Navarino
  16. ^ Bourne, Edward G. (1887). "The Derivation of Stamboul". American Journal of Philology. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 8 (1): 78–82. doi:10.2307/287478. JSTOR 287478.
  17. ^ Necdet Sakaoğlu (1993/94b): "Kostantiniyye". In: 'Dünden bugüne İstanbul ansiklopedisi', ed. Türkiye Kültür Bakanlığı, Istanbul.
  18. ^ A.C. Barbier de Meynard (1881): Dictionnaire Turc-Français. Paris: Ernest Leroux.
  19. ^ Kanun-ı Esasi (Ottoman Turkish) (Modern Turkish transliteration), Article 2: "Devleti Osmaniyenin payıtahtı İstanbul şehridir"
  20. ^ Stanford and Ezel Shaw (1977): History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Vol II, p. 386; Robinson (1965), The First Turkish Republic, p. 298
  21. ^ Arab historian Al Masudi writes that the Greek calls the city Stanbulin. Necipoĝlu (2010) p. 262
  22. ^ a b "Istanbul", in Encyclopedia of Islam.
  23. ^ H. G. Dwight (1915): Constantinople Old and New. New York: Scribner's.
  24. ^ Edmondo De Amicis (1878) Costantinopoli Milano, Treves, passim
  25. ^ Buğday, Korkut (2009) [1999]. The Routledge Introduction to Literary Ottoman. Translated by Jerold C. Frakes. Routledge. pp. 199–209.
  26. ^ tr:Bâb-ı Âli BabiAli
  27. ^ Miklagard )The Great City)
  28. ^ English Refugees in the Byzantine Armed Forces: The Varangian Guard and Anglo-Saxon Ethnic Consciousness
  29. ^ Jerusalmi, Isaac (1990). from OTTOMAN TURKISH to LADINO: the case of Mehmet Sadık Rifat Pasha's Risâle-i Ahlâk and Judge Yehezkel Gabbay's Buen Dotrino. Cincinnati, Ohio, USA: Ladino Books.
  30. ^ a b Nehama, Joseph (2003). Dictionnaire du Judéo-Espagnol. Paris, France: La Lettre Sépharade. pp. 196, 307.
  31. ^ Seznam tujih imen v slovenskem jeziku. Geodetska uprava Republike Slovenije. Ljubljana 2001. p. 18.


İnalcık, Halil (1997). "Istanbul". In van Donzel, E.; Lewis, B.; Phellat, Ch. Encyclopaedia of Islam. 4 (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill. pp. 224–248. ISBN 9789004057456.

Argyroupoli, Rethymno

Argyroupoli (Greek: Αργυρούπολη) is a village in the municipality of Lappa, Rethymno regional unit, Crete, Greece, population 403 (2011 census), altitude 260m. It was previously known as Lappa or Lampa, Stimboli, and Polis.


Constantinople (Greek: Κωνσταντινούπολις, translit. Kōnstantinoúpolis; Latin: Cōnstantīnopolis) was the capital city of the Roman/Byzantine Empire (330–1204 and 1261–1453), and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261), until finally falling to the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, and dedicated on 11 May 330. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.

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

Constantinople was famed for its massive and complex defences. The first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, and surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. Later, in the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front. This formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity. The city was built intentionally to rival Rome, and it was claimed that several elevations within its walls matched the 'seven hills' of Rome. Because it was located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara the land area that needed defensive walls was reduced, and this helped it to present an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces, domes, and towers, the result of the prosperity it achieved from being the gateway between two continents (Europe and Asia) and two seas (the Mediterranean and the Black Sea). Although besieged on numerous occasions by various armies, the defences of Constantinople proved impregnable for nearly nine hundred years.

In 1204, however, the armies of the Fourth Crusade took and devastated the city, and its inhabitants lived several decades under Latin misrule. In 1261 the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos liberated the city, and after the restoration under the Palaiologos dynasty, enjoyed a partial recovery. With the advent of the Ottoman Empire in 1299, the Byzantine Empire began to lose territories and the city began to lose population. By the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, making it an enclave inside the Ottoman Empire; after a 53-day siege the city eventually fell to the Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed II, on 29 May 1453, whereafter it replaced Edirne (Adrianople) as the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Constantinople (disambiguation)

Constantinople is the historic city name of present-day Istanbul in Turkey.

Constantinople may also refer to:

Constantinople Records

Constantinople (ensemble)

"Constantinople" (song), titled "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)", a song by the Four Lads, with a popular cover by They Might Be Giants

"Constantinople", a song by The Residents

"Constantinople", a song by the Decemberists from their EP Picaresqueties

Constantinople (novel), alternative name for Aziyadé

Dufrais Constantinople, a character in the British sketch show Fonejacker and its spin-off Facejacker

Exonym and endonym

An exonym or xenonym is an external name for a geographical place, a group of people, an individual person, or a language or dialect. It is a common name used only outside the place, group, or linguistic community in question. An endonym or autonym is an internal name for a geographical place, a group of people, or a language or dialect. It is a common name used only inside the place, group, or linguistic community in question; it is their name for themselves, their homeland, or their language.

For instance, Germany is the English language exonym, Allemagne is the French language exonym, and Deutschland is the endonym for the same country in Europe.

Marcel Aurousseau, an Australian geographer, first used the term exonym in his work The Rendering of Geographical Names (1957). The term endonym was devised subsequently as an antonym for the term exonym.

Fall of Constantinople

The Fall of Constantinople (Greek: Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, translit. Halōsis tēs Kōnstantinoupoleōs; Turkish: İstanbul'un Fethi, lit. 'Conquest of Istanbul') was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire by an invading Ottoman army on 29 May 1453. The attackers were commanded by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II, who defeated an army commanded by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos and took control of the imperial capital, ending a 53-day siege that began on 6 April 1453. After conquering the city, Sultan Mehmed transferred the capital of his Empire from Edirne to Constantinople and established his court there.

The capture of the city (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the Byzantine Empire, a continuation of the Roman Empire, an imperial state dating to 27 BC, which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years. The conquest of Constantinople also dealt a massive blow to Christendom, as the Muslim Ottoman armies thereafter were left unchecked to advance into Europe without an adversary to their rear.

It was also a watershed moment in military history. Since ancient times, cities had used ramparts and city walls to protect themselves from invaders, and Constantinople's substantial fortifications had been a model followed by cities throughout the Mediterranean region and Europe. The Ottomans ultimately prevailed due to the use of gunpowder (which powered formidable cannons).The conquest of the city of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire was a key event in the Late Middle Ages which also marks, for some historians, the end of the Medieval period.

Folk etymology

Folk etymology or reanalysis – sometimes called pseudo-etymology, popular etymology, or analogical reformation – is a change in a word or phrase resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familiar one. The form or the meaning of an archaic, foreign, or otherwise unfamiliar word is reanalyzed as resembling more familiar words or morphemes. Rebracketing is a form of folk etymology in which a word is broken down or "bracketed" into a new set of supposed elements. Back-formation, creating a new word by removing or changing parts of an existing word, is often based on folk etymology.

The term folk etymology is a loan translation from German Volksetymologie, coined by Ernst Förstemann in 1852. Folk etymology is a productive process in historical linguistics, language change, and social interaction. Reanalysis of a word's history or original form can affect its spelling, pronunciation, or meaning. This is frequently seen in relation to loanwords or words that have become archaic or obsolete.

Examples of words created or changed through folk etymology include the English dialectal form sparrowgrass, originally from Greek ἀσπάραγος ("asparagus") remade by analogy to the more familiar words sparrow and grass, or the word burger, originally from Hamburg + -er ("thing connected with"), but understood as ham + burger.

Geographical renaming

Geographical renaming is the changing of the name of a geographical feature or area. This can range from the change of a street name to a change to the name of a country. Some names are changed locally but the new names are not recognised by other countries, especially when there is a difference in language. Other names may not be officially recognised but remain in common use.

Many places have different names in different languages, and a change of language in official or general use has often resulted in what is arguably a change of name.

There are many reasons to undertake renaming, with political motivation being the primary cause; for example many places in the former Soviet Union and its satellites were renamed to honour Stalin. Sometimes a place reverts to its former name (see for example de-Stalinization). One of the most common reasons for a country changing its name is newly acquired independence. When borders are changed, sometimes due to a country splitting or two countries joining together, the names of the relevant areas can change. This, however, is more the creation of a different entity than an act of geographical renaming.

Other more unusual reasons for renaming have included:

To get rid of an inappropriate or embarrassing name

As part of a sponsorship deal or publicity stuntA change might see a completely different name being adopted or may only be a slight change in spelling.

In some cases established institutions preserve the old names of the renamed places in their names, such as the Pusan National University in Busan, South Korea; the Peking University in Beijing; Bombay Stock Exchange, IIT Bombay and the Bombay High Court in Mumbai; University of Madras, Madras Stock Exchange, the Madras High Court, and IIT Madras in Chennai; the University of Malaya, Keretapi Tanah Melayu, in Malaysia; and SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization), the ruling party of Namibia.

Often the older name will persist in colloquial expressions. For example, the dish known in English as "Peking duck" retained that name even when the Chinese capital changed its transliteration to "Beijing".


Istanbul (UK: , or US: or ; Turkish: İstanbul [isˈtanbuɫ] (listen)), known between c. 660 BCE and 330 CE as Byzantium, and between 330 and 1930 CE as Constantinople, is the most populous city in Turkey and Europe (including the Asian side within the city borders). It is the country's economic, cultural and historic center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosporus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. With a total population of around 15 million residents, Istanbul is one of the world's most populous cities, ranking as the world's fourth-largest city proper and the largest European city. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (coterminous with Istanbul Province). Istanbul is viewed as a bridge between the East and West.

Founded under the name of Byzantion (Βυζάντιον) on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BCE, the city grew in size and influence, becoming one of the most important cities in history. After its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 CE, it served as an imperial capital for almost 16 centuries, during the Roman/Byzantine (330–1204), Latin (1204–1261), Palaiologos Byzantine (1261–1453) and Ottoman (1453–1922) empires. It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 CE and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate.The city's strategic position on the historic Silk Road, rail networks to Europe and the Middle East, and the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean have produced a cosmopolitan populace. While Ankara was chosen instead as the new Turkish capital after the Turkish War of Independence, and the city's name was changed to Istanbul, the city has maintained its prominence in geopolitical and cultural affairs. The population of the city has increased tenfold since the 1950s, as migrants from across Anatolia have moved in and city limits have expanded to accommodate them. Arts, music, film, and cultural festivals were established towards the end of the 20th century and continue to be hosted by the city today. Infrastructure improvements have produced a complex transportation network in the city.

Approximately 12.56 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2015, five years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world's fifth most popular tourist destination. The city's biggest attraction is its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its cultural and entertainment hub can be found across the city's natural harbor, the Golden Horn, in the Beyoğlu district. Considered a global city, Istanbul has one of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies in the world. It hosts the headquarters of many Turkish companies and media outlets and accounts for more than a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. Hoping to capitalize on its revitalization and rapid expansion, Istanbul has bid for the Summer Olympics five times in twenty years.

List of Turkish place names

Some well-known place names in modern Turkey are derived from the Greek or Latin languages.

Lygos (disambiguation)

Lygos, also spelled Ligos, is one of the ancient names of Istanbul.

It may also refer to:

Lygkos, a mountain range in Greece

An obsolete name for the botanical genus Retama


In Old Norse sources, such as sagas and runestones, Serkland (also Særkland, Srklant, Sirklant, Serklat, etc.) was the "land of the Serkir", usually identified with the Saracens.

The exact etymology is disputed. Serk- may derive from "Saracen"; from sericum, Latin for "silk", implying a connection with the Silk Road; from the Khazar fortress of Sarkel; or from serkr, shirt or gown, i.e., "land of the gown-wearers". In all cases it refers to a land in the East. Originally, it referred to the land south of the Caspian Sea, but it gradually expanded to cover all Islamic lands, including in Africa (and possibly even Muslim Sicily).Notably one of the Ingvar runestones, the Sö 179, raised circa 1040 at Gripsholm Castle, commemorates a Varangian loss during an ill-fated raid in Serkland. The other remaining runestones that talk of Serkland are Sö 131, Sö 279, Sö 281, the Tillinge Runestone and probably the lost runestone U 439. For a detailed account of such raids, see Caspian expeditions of the Rus'.

Several sagas mention Serkland: Ynglinga saga, Sörla saga sterka, Sörla þáttr, Saga Sigurðar Jórsalafara and Hjálmþés saga ok Ölvis. It is also mentioned by the 11th century skald Þórgils Fiskimaðr, and the 12th century skald Þórarinn Stuttfeldr.


Stimboli may refer to:

Istanbul cf. Names of Istanbul

Argyroupoli, Rethymno, formerly Lappa, Lampa, Stimboli, or Polis.

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