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The Fall of Constantinople

Join Gordon Robertson as he travels to Istanbul, Turkey to uncover the architectural beauty of the Hagia Sophia, the critical role it played in the collapse of a powerful empire, and its lasting effect on the religious landscape today Read Transcript


IN A.D. 330, ROMAN EMPEROR

CONSTANTINE MOVED FROM ROME TO

MODERN DAY TURKEY.

THEY BUILT A NEW ROME, THE CITY

OF CONSTANT NOBLE.

THE CITY WAS A CAPITOL OF THE

BYZATINE EMPIRE AND CENTER OF

EASTERN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY.

CHRISTIANITY PERMEATED EVERY

ASPECT OF LIFE EVEN THE CHARIOT

RACES BEGAN WITH THE SINGING OF

HYMNS.

IT WAS HELD HERE IN THE CHURCH

OF THE HOLY WISDOM.

THE EMPEROR COMMISSIONED THE

CURRENT BUILDING IN A.D. 532

MAKING SURE IT WAS THE LARGEST

IN THE WORLD.

ON DEDICATION DAY, SOLOMAN,

I HAVE OUT DONE THOOE.

HE PROVIDED A STRUCTURE WHICH

IS AMAJOR LANDMARK IN THE

HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE EVER

SINCE.

THE BYZATINE EMPIRE REACHED

HEIGHT IN 11TH CENTURY.

THEN LIKE ROME BEFORE IT, THE

EMPIRE COLLAPSED SLOWLY FROM

WITHIN.

IN 1204 CRUSADERS LEFT CONSTANT

NOBLE IN RUINS, IN 1437.

THE BLACK DEATH KILLED A THIRD

OF THE POPULATION.

THE BYZATINES OVERLOOKED THREAT

RISING IN THE EAST.

FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY, THE

AUTOMAN TURKS HAVE BEEN GAINING

POWER AN TAKING LAND FROM THE

BYZATINES.

IN 1451, A NEW SOL TAN TOOK THE

THRONE.

ONLY 19 YEARS OLD, A DEVOUT

MUSLIM DETERMINED TO PROVE

HIMSELF R. HIS GOAL WAS TO

CONQUER THE BRIDGE BETWEEN

EUROPE AND ASIA AND MAKE

CONSTANT NOBLE HIS NEW CAPITOL.

HE WAS A FOLLOWER OF SHARIA

LAW.

IT WAS ULTIMATELY A RELIGIOUS

DRIVE WHICH URGED HIM ON TO

CONQUER THE CITY.

IN ARE SPRING OF 1493, OFFERED

HIM A CHANCE TO SURRENDER THE

CITY.

CONSTANTINE REFUSED.

I TURN NOW AND LOOK ALONE TO

GOD, I WILL CLOSE THE GATES AND

DEFEND MY PEOPLE TO THE LAST

DROP OF BLOOD.

ON APRIL 6TH, THE AUTOMANS

BEGAN -- OUTNUMBERED 10-1.

WITH EACH PASSING DAY, PANIC

GREW, SIEGE OF CONSTANT NOBLE

HAD BEGUN.

SPITE OF THE CONSTANT

ATTACK, THE BYZATINES BELIEVED

THEY WOULD WIN UNTIL THEY SAW A

SERIES OF BAD OMAN.

AN OLD BYZATINE PROPHECY SAID

LONGS THE MOON WAS IN THE SKY,

THE CITY WOULD NOT FALL.

BUT ON MAY 22ND, A LUNAR

ECLIPSE DARKENED THE MOON, THE

NEXT NIGHT BROUGHT A FURIOUS

STORM WITH THUNDER AND

LIGHTNING.

THEN A STRANGE GHOSTLY LIGHT

SURROUNDED THE DOME.

SOME WITNESSES SAID IT WAS A

SIGN OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

DEPARTING FROM THE CATHEDRAL.

AS THE TURKS CLOSED IN ON THE

CITY, HUNDREDS OF REFUGEES FLED

TO THE CHURCH FOR SAFETY.

ON MAY 28TH, PRIESTS BEGAN THE

LAST CHRISTIAN SERVICE THAT

WOULD EVER BE HELD THERE.

JUST BEFORE MIDNIGHT EMPEROR

CONSTANTINE ARRIVED.

HE SAID HIS FINAL PRAYER AND

RETURNED TO HIS POST.

WHILE THE EMPEROR PRAYED, THE

SULTAN ORDERED THE FINAL ATTACK

AND BY SUN RICE THE CITY'S

FAMOUS WALLS BREECHED.

CONSTANTINE REFUSED.

I CANNOT LEAVE THE GREAT

CHURCHES IN SUCH A PLIGHT.

WHAT WOULD THE WORLD SAY ABOUT

ME?

I AM RESOLVED TO DIE HERE WITH

YOU.

HE LED HIS MEN IN A FINAL

CHARGE AGAINST THE TURKS AND

NEVER SEEN AGAIN.

BY THE END OF THE DAY, AUTOMANS

HAD TAKEN CONSTANT NOBLE, AS A

REWARD HE GAVE HIS SOLDIERS THE

RUN OF THE CITY.

THEY HAD TO WORK HARD IN

TERMS OF THEIR PILLAGE.

THEY DID.

SOLDIERS STARTED HERE WHERE

HUNDREDS OF CHRISTIANS WERE

STILL HIDING.

THE CHURCH WHICH IS ONCE BEEN A

PLACE OF REFUGE WAS A SCENE OF

UNIMAGINABLE HORROR.

SICK AND ELDERLY KILLED ON

THE SPOT.

MOST OF THE OTHERS WERE TIED OR

CHAINED TOGETHER WHILE SOLDIERS

RAPE THE YOUNG WOMEN AND MEN.

SOME OF THE NUNS RAN AWAY

PREFERRING MAR TAR DOM TO RAPE.

MEMMITT ENTERED THE CITY.

THE ROAD THROUGH THIS GATE

AND PROCLAIMED HIMSELF THE NEW

CAESAR.

CHANGED THE NAME OF THE CITY TO

ISTANBUL.

THE NEW CAPITOL OF THE AUTOMAN

EMPIRE.

FIRST THING HE DID AFTER

CONQUERING THE CONSTANT NOBLE

WAS TO GO TO HOGS SOFIA TO

PROVE THAT ANOTHER FAITH HAD

NOW TAKEN OVER.

MEMMITT DECLARED THE

RELIGION ISLAM.

MOHAMMAD IS HIS PROPHET.

MUSLIMS ADDED 4 MINARETS TO THE

CHURCH AND COVERED THE

PRICELESS MOSAICS WITH PLASTER

ERASING 1,000 YEARS OF

CHRISTIAN HISTORY.

THE HOGS SOPHIA REMAINED THE

RELIGIOUS CENTER OF ISTANBUL

UNTIL THE AUTOMAN EMPIRE WAS

REPLACED BY THE NEW REPUBLIC OF

TURKEY.

IN 1935, MOSQUE TURNED INTO A

MUSEUM AN ORDER FROM TURKEY'S

FIRST PRESIDENT.

MU STAFF FA MU LA CAN YOU

RECOLLECT.

HE WANTED TO BRING IT

KICKING AND SECULARIZE THE

STATE.

NEW RENOVATIONS REVEAL THE

HIDDEN MOSAICS UNDER THE

PLASTER, VIRGIN AND CHILD, ARK

ANGEL, GABRIELLE.

AND CHRIST, DESIGNED TO SHOW

HIS COMPASSION FOR HUMANITY.

IN 2009, THE FACE OF THE

CATHEDRAL WAS UNVAILED TO THE

PUBLIC FOR THE FIRST TIMES IN

HUNDREDS OF YEARS, DOZENS OF

CHRISTIAN MOSAICS ARE HIDDEN BY

CALLIGRAPHY.

LOOK WHAT HAPPENED WHEN

CONSTANT NOBLE FELL.

THIS WAS THE CORK IN THE BOTTLE

OF ISLAMIC EXPANSION.

THEY WANT TO REMOVE THE CORK,

HEY, THEY ARE AFTER CONQUERING

EUROPE.

500 YEARS LATER, THE ISLAMIC

GOAL OF CONQUERING EUROPE IS

STILL ALIVE THANKS TO A WELL

KNOWN MUSLIM PROPHECY.

A PASSAGE IN THE HOLY KORAN,

INDEED THERE WILL BE AN ATTACK

ON 2 GREAT CAPITOLS, CONSTANT

NOBLE AND THE WEST.

CONSTANT NOBLE FELL IN 1453.

TODAY SOME MUSLIMS SAY IT IS

TIME TO FULFILL THE SECOND HALF

OF THE PROPHECY, NOT WITH A

SWORD BUT CONVERSION.

EXPANSIONISM HAS BEEN PART

OF ISLAM.

THEY WANT TO CONQUER THE WORLD,

AS A WITNESS, NOT JUST THE

TURKISH FLAG WITH THE CRESCENT

MOON, MEANING ISLAM WILL

CONQUER THE UNIVERSE.

THERE YOU HAVE IT ADVERTISED.

THAT IS THEIR GOAL.

EMBED THIS VIDEO

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