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Conquest of Istanbul
Byzantine Side

I, the last ruler of the Byzantine Empire,

Constantine XI Palaiologos. By God's will,

In 1449, my brother VIII. I ascended the throne upon Yannis' death. This city stood as a stronghold of Christianity and the capital of Byzantium. This city carried the legacy of the Roman Empire. This city was my city. But not anymore. The Ottomans besieged the city. They beat the walls with cannons. They entered the Golden Horn with ships. They crossed the walls with the soldiers. The city was filled with blood and fire. Churches turned into mosques. The people died or were captured. So, with one last hope, I joined the war. But it was in vain. The city fell. So I fell. My corpse disappeared. But my soul will live. This city will become Christian again one day. And so will I, I'll be back. The siege of the city began on April 6, 1453. Ottoman sultan II. Mehmed surrounded the city by land and sea with an army of 80 thousand people. There were approximately 7 thousand volunteers from Byzantium, Venice, Genoa, the Papacy and other Christian states. The city walls are 5 kilometers long and 12 
It was meters high. These walls had protected Byzantium for centuries. But the Ottomans brought a new weapon. These weapons were long guns. These cannons were used to destroy the walls. With each shot, large breaches were opened in the walls. We did our best to repair and defend the walls. But the Ottomans were greatly superior in numbers. Every day, we encountered new attacks. The sea side of the city was safer. Because the Byzantine navy controlled the Golden Horn. The Ottomans moved their ships overland to enter the Golden Horn. This was a very smart move. Thus, they threatened the Byzantine navy. So we blocked the entrance to the Golden Horn with chains. But the Ottomans attacked to break the chains. The Byzantine navy resisted the Ottoman navy. But it wasn't enough. The Ottomans entered the Golden Horn. The sea side of the city was also endangered. Inside the city, morale was low. There was hunger, disease and fear. People were taking shelter in churches. Priests were praying and waiting for a miracle. And I was trying to encourage the people. 
But inside me, I had no hope left. The Ottomans were very strong. Byzantium was very weak. I knew the city would fall. But I refused to surrender. Because this city was my honor. This city was my homeland. This city was my life. The final attack began on May 29, 1453, after morning prayers. The Ottomans attacked the walls with all their might. We resisted with all our strength. But it was in vain. A breach was opened in the walls. The Ottomans entered the city. Byzantine soldiers fought desperately. But they were defeated. The Ottomans plundered the city. The people were massacred or captured. Churches were converted into mosques. Hagia Sophia became the place where the Ottoman sultan prayed. So I joined the war to make a last stand. But I lost my life. My body was never found. Some said that my corpse was unrecognizable or that it had been dismembered by the Ottomans. Others believed that I turned into an angel and entered the wall of Hagia Sophia. 
They told me a legend that one day, if the city became Christian again, I would return. But I can't go back. Because I died. But my soul lives on. This city will one day become Christian again. And I, too, will live in their hearts. Constantinople will surely become Christian again!

Author: Hüseyin Emre Eken

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