Formerly known as Constantinople, and before that as Byzantium, Istanbul was founded at a crossroads between Europe and Asia, Christianity and Islam. The first inhabitants of modern day Istanbul date back to the first millennia BC. The city’s original name comes from Byzas, the king of Megara, who took his colonists here in the 7th century BC to establish a colony named Byzantium, the Greek name for a city on the Bosphorus. Byzas chose this spot after consulting an oracle of Delphi who told him to settle across from the “land of the blind”. Indeed, this superb location at the entrance of the Bosphorus strait, with access to the Black Sea, turned out to be one of the most strategically important cities of the ancient world.