Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Throughout the span of years it has witnessed major political, religious and artistic events thus surrounded by historical sights such as mosques, churches, palaces and even more of which only traces remain.
The first known name of the city is Byzantium (Greek: Βυζάντιον, Byzántion), thought to be derived from a personal name, Byzas. Constantine the Great made it the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire in 330 CE and the city became widely known as "Constantinopolis" (Constantinople), which, as the Latinized form of "Κωνσταντινούπολις" (Konstantinoúpolis), means the "City of Constantine". The name İstanbul derives from the Medieval Greek phrase "εἰς τὴν Πόλιν" which means "to the city" and is how Constantinople was referred to by the local Greeks. The importance of Constantinople in the Ottoman world was also reflected by its Ottoman name 'Der Saadet' meaning the 'gate to Prosperity' in Ottoman.
This ancient city known as Constantinople and Byzantium after its reestablishment in 330 CE served as an imperial capital for almost 16 centuries, during the Roman and Byzantine (330–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin (1204–1261), and the 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 and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphate.
In the historical Peninsula, where the majority of historical monuments are found, lies along the Golden Horn and inside of the city walls of Constantinople. The most famous of these monuments are Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, The Wall of Theodosius, Topkapı Palace, Suleymaniye Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Saint Eirene, Church of Chora, Archeological Museum, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, and more.