Brief history of Turkey
Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia has resulted in a fascinating history, with some of the earliest human settlements in the world still in existence today, even though they date back over 10,000 years! From the mysterious Hittites, the ancient Greeks, the Persians and Romans through to the Byzantines, all have left a wealth of archaeological and architectural treasures, a paradise for amateur archaeologists and sightseers alike. It is said to have more ancient Greek remains than Greece and more Roman ruins than Italy. There are literally hundreds of fascinating historic sites, the awesome Byzantine cathedral of Haghia Sophia, the well-preserved Roman theatre at Aspendos, the Library of Celsus at Ephesus, the Hittite city of Hattuşaş and the city of Side to name but a few.
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city founded by king Byzas in 667 BC. Between 324 and 330 AD, Emperor Constantine built, virtually from scratch, a new imperial capital at Byzantium. The city was later renamed Constantinople and briefly became the imperial residence of the classical Roman Empire, and then subsequently was, for more than a thousand years, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the Greek-speaking Roman Empire of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. In 1453 Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Turks, who renamed it Istanbul. The Ottomans united Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. The Ottoman Empire lasted over 400 years but despite its immense size and wealth, it suffered a slow, relentless decline.
The Turkish War of Independence in 1923 was waged by Turkish Nationalists against the Allies, after the country was partitioned by the Allies following the Ottoman Empire's defeat in World War I.
The Turkish Republic was established in 1923. As the country’s first president, Mustafa Kemal, who became known as Atatürk, or “Father of the Turks”, began a series of ambitious reforms aimed at rebuilding the country from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, turning it into a modern, western-looking country.
Ankara replaced Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) as the new Turkish capital city in1923.
Brief history of Side
Side is situated on the Mediterranean coast approximately 65 kilometers from one of Turkey 's largest cities, Antalya . This unique seaside resort lies on a small, flat peninsula which is 300 metres wide and 800 metres long and is just packed to the brim with archaeological wonders and surrounded on both sides by the deep, blue water of the Med. At certain points along the main street that runs through the centre and down to the quaint fishing harbour, you can look between the buildings and streets and see the sea on either side. During the summer season Side is a pedestrian zone.
Side has had a turbulent history throughout the centuries having been occupied by Hittites, Persian, Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and Byzantines.
Side has been inhabited since 7th century BC and was settled by Greeks. Side means pomegranate, which represents abundance, in the ancient Anatolian language.
Side's natural geography and good harbour made it one of the most important places in Pamphylia and one of the most important trade centres in the region.
Next to no information exists concerning Side under Lydian and Persian sovereignty.
Alexander the Great occupied Side without a struggle in 333 BC. After Alexander's death, Side fell under the control of one of Alexander's generals, Ptolemy I Soter, who declared himself king of Egypt in 305 BC. The Ptolemaic dynasty controlled Side until it was captured by the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BC. The Seleucid Empire was a major centre of Hellenistic culture which maintained the pre-eminence of Greek customs and where the political elite dominated.
Despite these occupations, Side managed to preserve some autonomy, grew prosperous, and became an important cultural centre.
In 67 BC, Side came under the control of Rome and began its second period of ascendancy. It established and maintained a good working relationship with the Roman Empire.
Side prospered as a commercial centre in Asia Minor through its trade in olive oil. Its population grew to 60,000 inhabitants. This period would last well into the 3rd century AD. Side also established itself as a slave-trading centre in the Mediterranean. Its large commercial fleet engaged in acts of piracy, while wealthy merchants paid for such tributes as public works, monuments, and competitions as well as the games and gladiator fights. Most of the extant ruins at Side date from this period of prosperity.
Cleopatra and Mark Anthony are rumoured to have enjoyed their 3 year honeymoon in the area.
Side steadily declined during the 4th century. Even defensive walls could not stop successive invasions of highlanders from the Taurus Mountains. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Side experienced a revival, and became the seat of the Bishopric of Eastern Pamphylia.
Arab fleets raided and burned Side during the 7th century. The combination of earthquakes, Christian zealots and Arab raids, left the site abandoned by the 10th century, its citizens having emigrated to nearby Antalya.
In the 12th century, Side temporarily established itself once more as a large city. An inscription found on the site of the former ancient city shows a considerable Jewish population in early Byzantine times. However, Side was abandoned again after being sacked. Its population moved to Antalya, and Side became known as Eski Adalia ("Old Antalya") and was buried.
During the 13th century Side area came under the Seljuk Empire’s governance and in the 15th century the area was incorporated into the growing Ottoman Empire.
In 1453 the Ottomans defeated the Byzantines and the Ottoman Empire was established which existed until Ataturk formed the Turkish Republic in 1923.