Sultan Abdul Hamid II was the last of the great sultans. He came on the stage of history at a time when the empire was bankrupt and could not defend itself against its many enemies. In the face of aggression from without and sabotage from within, hammered by forces of nationalism and weakened by internal sabotage from some of the millets, he waged a valiant battle to preserve what was left of the once mighty empire. In this effort, he was partially successful, preserving its Islamic core for forty years and keeping the empire out of a major war for as long. But his methods and the internal tensions built up by the very modernization processes he had fostered, finally did him in.Read more
Constantinople, or Istanbul as it is known today, is a unique city as far as history and location is concerned. Historically, it was the capital of the Roman Empire for eleven centuries and its culture dominated the whole world. The principle church of Eastern Christianity was situated here. Its pivotal political and religious position caused the entire Christian World to rally to its defense at times of conflict. Geographically, it has a natural harbour bordered by the ocean on three sides and it is the only city in the world which is considered to be both in Europe and Asia. The straits of Bosphorus divide the city into two, with one end merging into the black sea, and the other into the Sea of Marmara. A tiny branch of the Bosphorus to the west forms the ‘Golden Horn’, which is the only entry into the city.Read more
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