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Constantinople was the ancient capital of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Known as a crossroads between Europe and Asia, the city was bisected by the Bosporus, which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. Known today as Istanbul, it is the largest city in modern-day Turkey.

Originally known as the ancient city of Byzantium and dating back to c 670 BC, Constantinople was founded in AD 324 by Roman Emperor Constantine I, after whom the city was named. Throughout its history, the city was globally famed for its architecture such as the Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome, and the city’s fortifications, which marked its Roman military prowess. The city was also a hub of scientific and artistic production, as well as commanding trade routes between Europe, Africa and Asia. 

The city remained the capital of the Byzantine empire until its fall to the Ottoman Empire in YE 313. Prior to this fall, the Catholic Church had ruled the city and striven 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 AD 1130s, news of an independent Hycathic state called Aktau reached the Constantinople camp, causing a Hycathic exodus from the city’s borders. 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.

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