Saturday, October 8, 2016

Byzantium in Istanbul, or Istanbul in Constantinople?

From the blog of the Society of Architectural Historians:
Just hours before I sat down to write this text on March 19, 2016, another suicide bomb claimed victims in Turkey, this time on ─░stiklal Caddesi, a lively shopping street at the center of Istanbul’s European side. Last week, an attack in one of Ankara’s main public transportation hubs pointed to further troubles, and it is now clearer how soon they are to some. So far, I have only very occasionally touched upon the political reality of the Middle East, and increasingly Europe. Yet now, as I continued research in Turkey and observe how the situation develops locally, I am both at a loss for words. I feel that it is callous to write about architectural history without the larger context of a country that increasingly slides into violence and uncertainty. I ambitiously wanted to write about Bursa, the first Ottoman capital, as well, but given recent events do not have the stomach to venture into a description of monuments that are, on the one hand, ethereally beautiful and, on the other hand, include mausolea and graveyards. I may return to this later, with distance if possible, but for now the first paragraph of my original text below stands without actual continuation.
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Watch: The Theodosian Walls, a Reconstruction

The Land Walls, of which great parts survive, were built between 408 and 413 by the emperor Theodosios II. From the older Constantinian Walls only the Old golden Gate did still exist in the late byzantine time. The Land Walls consisted of a main wall, a lower front wall that was perhaps added only in 447, and a trench that was divided in sections and could be filled with water. A number of gates provided acces to the city, among which the Golden Gate is the most important one. The Land Walls were frequently restored, and they were never taken by a foreign power before 1453 when the Ottomans destroyed parts of it by their artillery.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Byzantine Grave Found in Istanbul

From Hurriyet:

Archaeologists have uncovered a Roman-Byzantine grave underneath Istanbul’s famous ─░stiklal Avenue, providing evidence of human activity in one of the city’s most important areas at a date earlier than previously thought.

The grave was unearthed during the restoration of the historic Casa Garibaldi building on the avenue when a worker discovered a 1,600- to 1800-year-old skull eight meters under the surface.