Database of Hotels in Istanbul, Turkey
I. The Foundation of The City
The first foundation of the city

The oldest signs of habitation in the Istanbul area have been found on the banks of the Kurbagali-dere Greek in Kadikoy, in the Fikirtepe locality; it is considered that these finds date from the end of the 4th century or the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Research carried out in recent times in a natural cave in a rocky hillside overlooking the north side of the Buyukcekmece lake 20 km west of Istanbul has proved that people lived here in prehistoric times. An interesting point is that this cave was regarded as a sacred place by the Byzantines after the extends down into the depths of the earth over a distance of 1 km and the height of some of its corridors reaches 15m in some places. At the bottom of an extremely thick layer of earth and manure a large number of fossils, stone-age tools, flint spear-heads and pieces of bone have been found. These all go to prove that the area around Istanbul has been inhabited since the dawn of history.

There is no reason at all why there should not have been another centre of habitation on the site of present-day Istanbul. However, the increase in the depth of the soil layer previously mentioned has rendered a search for these very early signs of habitation impossible. It would, however, seem more within the bounds of possibility that the very first city was bounded on Silivritepe, the high promontory between the Alibey and Kagithane creeks at the upper end of the Golden Horn. If we accept the idea that prehistoric man preferred to settle at the head of running water, as evidenced by the finds at Fikirtepe and Kucukcekmece it would be entirely convincing to suppose the existence of a settlement at the top end of the Golden Horn on Silivritepe, a place which provided a safe refuge for small boats, a plentiful supply of fish in all seasons, the banks of which were fertile and suitable for agriculture and which in addition was supplied with fresh water by these two creeks. In all probability the best place to search for the first signs of habitation in Istanbul would be at the upper end of the Golden Horn. Apart from this there was also a centre of habitation at the tip of the triangular piece of land enclosed by the city walls now known as Sarayburnu. The Roman writer Plinius, who lived in the 1st century AD, states that first of all there was a village called Lygos in this triangle. Fragments of pottery found during excavations carried out in 1937 in the second courtyard of the Topkapi Palace are extremely inadequate evidence of Istanbul's habitation in the 7th century BC because the soil in which they were found had been brought there from another place.

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