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Past to Present

A protester holds a poster of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at a demonstration in Istanbul /Photo Corbis

For over a thousand years, (parts of) Anatolia formed part of the East Roman and later Byzantine Empire, under the administration of Constantinople (formerly called Byzantium). In 1453 Constantinople fell, marking the end of Byzantine rule, and the founding of the Ottoman Empire. Constantinople was rebaptized as Istanbul. The city remained the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire until 1918 – a world empire stretching from the Balkans to northern Africa and governing many peoples.

The modern Turkish state is built on the vestiges of the Ottoman Empire, its territory now confined to the Anatolian plateau. Turkey’s rich past is conspicuous in the many material remains from the past which can be admired throughout the country.