Thursday 28 March 2019

στην πόλη

The Turkish government on this day in 1930 changed the name of its largest city from Constantinople to İstanbul—the ancient metropolis having formerly been known as New Rome, Augusta Antonina, Byzantium and originally Lygos—and recall us to contemporary name changes we’ve encountered recently.
Whereas the reflagging of İstanbul strips it of historical associations, the people of Kyrgyz are considering renaming its capital from Bishkek to Manas, a legendary warrior whose exploits are sung in an epic poem that contains half a million verses and is a cultural touchstone for Kyrgyz identity. Some speculate that this debate was sparked by adjacent Kazakhstan’s decision to rename its capital Astana (formerly Tselinograd and founded as Akmoly) to Nur-Sultan in honour of long-serving president Nursultan Äbishuly Nazarbayev on the occasion of his retirement.