Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, was the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The Bosphorus straits divides the city into a part that sits on the European continent, and a larger part on the continent of Asia. The militarily and economically strategic position of the city, on the western portion of the Silk Road, and on the shipping route between the Aegean and Black Seas, has kept it cosmopolitan and prosperous since its foundation 660 BCE, when it was called Byzantium. In 330 it became Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire, named for Emperor Constantine the Great. The Ottomans conquered the city in 1453/857 AH and renamed the city Istanbul. It served as their capital until Ankara became the capital of the modern nation of Turkey.
The renovation of a public hammam built in 1580 by Sinan called for a sensitive approach, retaining the structural, spatial and formal characteristics of the original building, while accommodating modern bathing facilities. Numerous changes, and layers and layers of bad materials had damaged the structure, making the restoration an act of continuous investigation including identifying elements of the original structure, and those elements that had been destroyed. The restored hammam is structurally sound and accommodates new demands while preserving the original Sinan designed spaces.