Tsargrad

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Tsargrad (Old Church Slavonic: Цѣсарьградъ, Church Slavonic: Царьгра̀дъ, Russian: Царьгра́д, Bulgarian: Ца̀риград, also rendered as Czargrad and Tzargrad; see Tsar) is another name for the city of Constantinople, which is modern day Istanbul in Turkey. The name Tsargrad has been Romanized for use with that alphabet.

The word is Old Church Slavonic in origin. It meant "The City of the King" or "The City of the Caesar" and is combined of the Slavonic words "tsar" for Caesar and "grad" for a city. Untill 14th century it was used mostly as a title of Constantinople (the capital of the Byzantine emperors) and Turnovgrad (the capital of the Bulgarian tsars). Since the fall of the Balkans under Ottoman rule the word has been used exclusively as another name of Constantinople (now Istanbul), because in the vernacular of the Balkan Slavs the Ottoman sultans were called tsars.

The term became common vernacular in the principality of Muscovy, when they began to adopt Byzantine practices in the 15th century. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the burgeoning Russian Empire had begun to see itself as the last extension of the Roman Empire, and the force that would resurrect the lost leviathan (Third Rome). This belief was the supported by the Russian Orthodox Church and given at least an air of legitimacy by the marriage of Ivan III to the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor. The royals adopted the title Tsar, and the use of the name Tsargrad made the lost city sound mysterious and royal. It was allegedly an objective of the Tsars to recapture the city, but despite many southern advances and expansion by the empire, this was never realized.

As the zeitgeist which spawned the term has faded, the word Tsargrad is now an archaic term in Russian. It is however still used occasionally in Bulgarian.bg:Цариград ru:Царьград sr:Цариград

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