Where does the name of Istanbul come from?

The name of Istanbul, which was the capital of different civilizations, was usually named after the Emperors of the times to honor them and was used in different ways over time.

The name of Istanbul continued to be used as Constantinople long after the conquest of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. The name of the city, which later changed to Istanbul, was also used as Islambol, which means the center of the Caliphate for a while.


Many different names have been given to Istanbul, which has hosted different civilizations throughout the ages. Augusta, Byzantion, Constantinople and Konstantiniyye are some of the few known names of Istanbul.

Byzantion: Byzantion, the first known name of Istanbul, dates back to BC. It was founded in 667. Doric Greek settlers, who established a colony on today’s Istanbul, named this new settlement area after their king, Byzantas or Byzas. In some sources, the name given to Istanbul during this period is also referred to as Byzantion.

M.S. In the 1st century, when the city fell into the hands of the Romans, its name was Latinized and named Byzantium.

Augusta Antonina: Istanbul was referred to by this name for a short time. The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus named Istanbul Augusta Antonina in honor of his son Antonius.

Nova Roma: Roman Emperor Constantine I, M.S. In 330 he declared Istanbul the capital of the Roman Empire and named it Nova Roma, which means “New Rome” in Latin.
Constantinople: After the death of Emperor Constantine I in 337 AD, the city was renamed Constantinople, meaning “City of Constantine” in his honor. This name was used as the official name of Istanbul during the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. However, the locals of the city used the name Polis, which means city in Greek.

This name continued to be used even after Mehmet the Conqueror conquered Istanbul in 1453 and declared it the fourth capital of the Ottoman Empire. As a matter of fact, after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic on October 29, 1923, Westerners continued to use the name Constantinople for 7 years.

Constantinople: Kostantiniyye, the Arabic version of Constantinople, is the most widely used and known name of Istanbul by the Islamic world. Constantinople, which means “the city of Constantine” in Greek, means “the place of Constantine” in Arabic.

Sometimes, however, Ottoman officials called for Istanbul Derâliye (Arabic: “The Supreme Gate”), Pâyitaht (Persian: Throne Foot or “Baskent”), Dersaadet (Arabic: “Gate of Happiness”). , Asitane (Persian: “State State”). They also used the names Bâb-ı Âli (Arabic: “Supreme Gate”).

Mehmet Sarıusta

Hi, I'm Mehmet. I am a writer for Expat Guide Turkey and I strive to create the best content for you. To contact me, you can send an e-mail to Happy reading!

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