"Byzantine Art and Archaeology"

(November 2001) 

The 3rd year Byzantine Art & Archaeology class and I, and several guests went to Istanbul for a one-day field trip, an exploration of key Byzantine monuments of the city. The skies were not kind; it rained heavily throughout the day. We did not let this dampen our spirits, however, and went right ahead with our program.  In the morning we visited the Hippodrome, the Mosaic Museum (with the impressive floor mosaic from the Great Palace), the Yerebatan Saray, the Aya Sofya (where museum director Mustafa Akkaya kindly addressed us), and, new this year, the Aya Irini, where the Biennale, a fascinating art exhibit of contemporary art, was being held. After a hearty lunch at a Sultanahmet köfteci, we walked down the hill to see the sixth century church of Sts. Sergius & Bacchus (now the Kücük Aya Sofya Camii), still in disgracefully dilapidated condition.  From there, we hopped into taxis and headed inland to the Kariye Camii Museum, to admire its splendid 14th century mosaics and wall paintings. As our last stop, we walked to the Edirne Kapı and admired the marble plaque installed in 1953 to mark the 500th anniversary of Mehmet the Conqueror's triumphal entry into Istanbul. But this opening in the wall is much smaller than that now used by cars and trucks, and has become neglected; a good cleanup of trash is necessary. The sun was now setting and so, having enjoyed the day, we bid each other farewell and, from the Edirne Kapı, headed off in various directions.

Charles Gates

Yerebatan Saray

(photo: B. Claasz Coockson 1993)





Newsletter No. 1 - 2002, Pg. 20

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Bilkent University - Department of Archaeology and History of Art
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Charles Gates and Jacques Morin
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Last Updated: November, 2002.