Constantinople was an ancient city, located in modern-day Turkey, that was the capital of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Known as the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the city was bisected by the Bosporus, which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black sea.
Despite being originally known as the ancient city of Byzantium, dating back to c. 670 BC, Constantinople was founded in 324 AD by Roman Emperor Constantine I, after whom the city was named. Throughout its history within the Byzantine Empire, the city was globally famed for its architecture that marked its Roman military prowess, such as the Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome, and the city’s fortifications. Constantinople was also an esteemed hub of scientific and artistic production, commanding trade routes between Europe, Africa and Asia through its entire history.
The city remained the capital of the Byzantine empire, under rule of the Catholic Church, until its fall to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Prior to this fall, the Catholic Church that ruled the city strived to remove the city’s Hycathic community, believing it posed a powerful threat and would leave the city in ruin. As a result, Hycathism was banished from Constantinople, leaving the city’s Hycathae to set up a refugee camp on the outskirts of the city. During the 1130s, news of an independent Hycathic state called Aktau reached the Constantinople camp, causing a Hycathic exodus from the city’s borders en masse. It was in this camp that Roosmarijn Doolaard, during her journey through Constantinople, met the young Hycatha Nuray, whose stories about the Hycathic state would convince Roosmarijn to change the course of her journey and travel to Aktau.