Whereist Eyup and Fatih

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The Valens Aqueduct (Turkish: Bozdoğan Kemeri, meaning “Aqueduct of the grey falcon”; Greek: Άγωγός του ὔδατος, Agōgós tou hýdatos, meaning simply “aqueduct“) was the major water-providing system of medieval Constantinople (modern Istanbul, in Turkey). Restored by several Ottoman Sultans, it is one of the most important landmarks of the city.

File:Valens Aqueduct in Istanbul.jpg

Location

The aqueduct stands in Istanbul, in the quarter of Fatih, and spans the valley between the hills occupied today by the Istanbul University and the Fatih Mosque. The surviving section is 921 meters long, about 50 meters less than the original length.[1] The Atatürk Bulvarı boulevard passes under its arches.

Today it is usually called the Aqueduct of Valens, since it was finished in 368, during Valens’s reign, but there is reason to assume that it was already planned and begun in Constantine’s time.39 As mentioned above, the aqueduct runs parallel to one of the streets in the old part of Byzantium. Also, its southeastern
prolongation would exactly meet the main entrance of the courtyard in the Great Palace that is now the Mosaic Museum. It is obvious that the aqueduct  was planned in a clear relationship to the street system of the old town of Byzantium. Arches 26/27 and 52 are wider than the others in the aqueduct and were certainly
intended to serve as passages for streets.40 At other points where we would expect similar wider arches, the original construction is lost, for example, at the northwestern end close to the church of the Holy Apostles, where the aqueduct was completely rebuilt in Ottoman times.

http://www.whereist.com/wp-content/uploads/HLIC/146e26a1db68d94964899e2081faa017.jpg

History

Roman period

The construction of a water supply system for the city (then still called Byzantium) had begun already under the Roman emperor Hadrian.[2] Under Constantine I, when the city was rebuilt and increased in size, the system needed to be greatly expanded to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population.[3]

The Valens aqueduct, which originally got its water from the slopes of the hills between Kağıthane and the Sea of Marmara,[4] was merely one of the terminal points of this new wide system of aqueducts and canals – which eventually reached over 250 kilometers in total length, the longest such system of Antiquity – that stretched throughout the hill-country of Thrace and provided the capital with water. Once in the city, the water was stored in three open reservoirs and over a hundred underground cisterns, such as the Basilica Cistern, with a total capacity of over 1 million cubic meters.[5]

Turkey, Constantinople, Aqueduct of Valens (in the City), 1838“Aqueduct of Valens (in the City)” (Istanbul) engraved by J.C.Bentley after a picture by W.H.Bartlett, published in The Beauties of the Bosphorus, 1838. Steel engraved print with recent hand colour. Good condition. Size 18 x 14.5 cms including title, plus margins. Ref G3331

The exact date that construction on the aqueduct began is uncertain, but it was completed in the year 368 during the reign of Roman Emperor Valens, whose name it bears. It lay along the valley between the third and fourth hills of Constantinople, occupied respectively at that time by the Capitolium and the Church of the Holy Apostles.[6] According to tradition, the aqueduct was built using the stones of the walls of Chalcedon, pulled down as punishment in 366 after the revolt of Procopius.[6] The structure was inaugurated in the year 373 by the urban prefect Klearchos, who commissioned a Nymphaeum Maius in the Forum of Theodosius, that was supplied with water from the aqueduct.[6]a[›]

After a severe drought in 382, Theodosius I built a new line (the Aquaeductus Theodosiacus), which took water from the northeastern region known today as the “Belgrade Forest”.[3]

East Roman (Byzantine) period

Other works were executed under Theodosius II, who decided to distribute the water of the aqueduct exclusively to the Nymphaeum, the Baths of Zeuxippus and the Great Palace of Constantinople.[3] The aqueduct, possibly damaged by an earthquake, was restored under Emperor Justinian I, who connected it with the Cistern of the Basilica of Illusb[›] (identified today either with the Yerebatan or with the Binbirdirek (Turkish: Turkish): “thousand and one columns”) cistern, and was repaired in 576 by Justin II, who built a separate pipe.[6][7]

The aqueduct was cut by the Avars during the siege of 626, and the water supply was reestablished only after the great drought of 758 by Emperor Constantine V.[6] The Emperor had the whole water supply system repaired by a certain Patrikios, who used a large labour force coming from the whole of Greece and Anatolia.[6]

Other maintenance works were accomplished under Emperors Basil II (in 1019) and Romanos III Argyros.[4][8]

The last Byzantine Emperor who took care of the aqueduct was Andronikos I Komnenos.[7] Neither during the Latin Empire nor during the Palaiologan period were any repair works executed, but by that time the population of the city had shrunk to about 40,000 – 50,000 inhabitants, so that the water supply was no longer a very important issue.[4] Nevertheless, according to Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo, a Castilian diplomat who traveled to Constantinople en route to an embassy to Timur in 1403, the aqueduct was still functioning.[6]

Ottoman period

After the Fall of Constantinople (1453), Sultan Mehmet II repaired the whole water supply, which was then used to bring water to the imperial palaces of Eski Sarayi (the first palace, built on the third hill) and Topkapı Sarayi, and connected it with a new line coming from the northeast. The great earthquake of 1509 destroyed the arches near the Mosque of Şehzade, which was erected some time later. This gave rise to the popular legend that they were cut, in order to allow a better view from the nearby mosque. The repairs to the water-supplying net continued under Beyazid II, who added a new line.[8]

Around the middle of the 16th century, Suleyman I rebuilt arches (now ogival) 47 up to 51 (counted from the west) near the Şehzade Mosque, and commissioned the Imperial Architect Sinan to add two more lines, coming from the Forest of Belgrade (Belgrad Ormanı).[4] The increased flow allowed the distribution of water to the Kιrkçeşme (“Forty Fountains”) quarter, situated along the aqueduct on the Golden Horn side, and so called after the many fountains built there under Suleyman.[4]

Under Sultan Mustafa II, five arches (41-45) were restored, respecting the ancient form. An inscription in situ, dated 1696/97, commemorates the event.[8] His successor Ahmed III repaired again the distribution net.[8]

In 1912, a 50-meter-long part of the aqueduct near the Fatih Mosque was pulled down.[4] In the same period, a new modern Taksim (“distribution plant”, lit. ‘division’) at the east end was erected.[4]

Description

The Aqueduct of Valens

The Aqueduct of Valens had a length of 971 meters and a maximum height of ca. 29 meters (63 meters above sea level) with a constant slope of 1:1000.[6] Arches 1-40 and 46-51 belong to the time of Valens, arches 41-45 to Mustafa II, and those between 52 and 56 to Suleyman I.[9] Arches 18-73 have a double order, the others a single order.[6][9]

Originally the structure ran perfectly straight, but during the construction of the Fatih Mosque – for unknown reasons – it was bent in that section.[10] The masonry is not regular, and uses a combination of ashlar blocks and bricks.[6] The first row of arches is built with well-squared stone blocks, the upper row is built with four to seven courses of stones alternated with a bed of smaller material (opus caementitium) clamped with iron cramps.[10] The width of the aqueduct varies from 7.75 meters to 8.24 meters.[6] The pillars are 3.70 meters thick, and the arches of the lower order are four meters wide.[10]

The water comes from two lines from the northeast and one coming from the northwest, which join together outside the walls, near the Adrianople Gate (Edirne Kapı).[1] Near the east end of the aqueduct there is a distribution plant, and another lies near Hagia Sophia. The water feeds the zone of the imperial palace.[10] The daily discharge in the 1950s amounted to 6,120 cubic meters.[10] During Byzantine times, two roads important for the topography of medieval Constantinople crossed under the eastern section of the aqueduct.[10]

CISTERN of AETIOS

This open cistern in the northwest of the city was built in 421 and filled with water from the supply line leading to the Aqueduct of Valens. In the middle byzantine time, it was probably already used as a garden.

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Housing the oldest surviving institution of learning in Istanbul, the crowning jewel of Fener is the principle school for the small Greek population. The building was erected in 1881 but served as the Patriarchate School during the Byzantine era. After the conquest, the Patriarchate was granted special rights and the school was allowed to reopen.

Under the sultanate, Greeks called the school the Megali Scholio (Great School), and some of the more prominent names of the Byzantine Empire were educated here, including Palaeologus, Cantacuzejnus, and Cantemir. The soaring dome sits on a thick drum whose upper floor houses an observatory for instruction in astronomy. The best view of the school is from down below (or halfway down the steeply sloping Sancaktar Yokusu); you can’t get in unless you’re up for some aerobics, so just admire it from the base of the hill.

Read more: www.frommers.com/destinations/istanbul/A42189.html#ixzz0fPPlO5Jp

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Molla Aşkı Cafe has a nice view of the Golden Horn along with fresh hookah and their selection of herbal tea’s.

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Balat is the traditional Jewish quarter in the Fatih district of Istanbul. It is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the old city on the historic peninsula, on the western bank of the Golden Horn. (Another Istanbul neighborhood deeply associated with Jewish settlement is Kuzguncuk on the Asian shore.)

The name Balat is probably derived from Greek palation (palace), from Latin palatium.
Balat is the traditional Jewish quarter in the Fatih district of Istanbul. It is located on the European side of Istanbul, in the old city on the historic peninsula, on the western bank of the Golden Horn. (Another Istanbul neighborhood deeply associated with Jewish settlement is Kuzguncuk on the Asian shore.)

The name Balat is probably derived from Greek palation (palace), from Latin palatium.

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The oldest settlement on the Golden Horn, Balat is like a miniature Istanbul with its uniform streets, its two and three-story houses with cantilevered balconies, its staircases jutting up the steep slopes, and its places of worship at every step.

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat

Balat is a quarter that has extended its hospitality to a large number of different communities in its time. From the Byzantine Greeks to Jews that fled the Spanish Inquisition and the Armenians that settled in Istanbul, Balat has been a place of residence for numerous disparate ethnic groups. Many a migration route has ended in the old Golden Horn quarter of Balat, which to the outsider today appears mysterious and even a little forbidding.

GATEWAY TO PALACES
The shores of the Golden Horn were once lined with defense walls punctuated by a large number of gates to the city. Arriving at the palace by sea, the Byzantine emperors used the Balat Gate, known then as ‘Vasiliki Pili’. This gate stood on the road leading to the Tekfur Saray, the only Byzantine palace still standing today and an annex of the Blachernae Palace as it was known by its old name, as well as to the notorious Anemas Dungeons. The name Balat is said to derive from the word ‘palation’, which means palace in Greek. Quiet and peaceful today, and almost deserted at nightfall, the streets of Balat once bustled at all hours of the day.

Holy Spring of the Virgin Mary
When I stepped into the street leading to Balat from the walls of the Ayvansaray where the tombs of the Sahabe (Companions of the Prophet Muhammed) are located, the first thing I encountered at the gate was the ‘Ayazma’ or Holy Spring of the Virgin Mary. A young priest here is telling visitors about the Golden Horn and Balat. Legend has it that there was once a rock fragment of dazzling whiteness sticking up out of the waters of the Bosphorus, the strait dividing the Asian and European continents, off the coast of Chalcedon. Startled by its brilliance, the pelamydes (the small tuna known in Turkish as ‘palamut’) took refuge at nightfall in the Golden Horn on their migration route from the Black Sea to the Aegean.  So great were their numbers that the entire estuary glowed with their phosphorescence. According to some this is the origin of the name ‘Golden Horn’, while others claim it derives from the sheer abundance of the fish. All the people of Byzantium flocked down to the shore from the gates along the Golden Horn to catch fish there with their bare hands, and behind the walls Palation (Balat) became a scene of great festivity. Although the fish migrations steadily declined, Balat remained the last stop for communities in search of a new home.

DISTRICT OF ETHNIC MINORITIES
Balat has gone down in history as a district of  ethnic minorities. Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition took refuge in Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and were settled at Balat, which in those days was a final destination for Jews from all over the place. The altar of the Ahrida Synagogue on Vodina Avenue resembles a ship’s prow. According to one legend, this structure is a fragment of Noah’s ark while according to another it is said to represent the galleons that brought the Jews from Spain to Istanbul. Another of the still active synagogues, located on Düriye Street, Yanbol Synagogue was built by Jews from Bulgaria. Practically every street where Jews lived had it own synagogue in those days.When the sultan on 27 August 1839 issue a firman declaring that ‘every community has a right to build its own hospital’, a hospital was constructed on the coast road to meet the needs of the Jewish population. Due to a lack of sufficient funds to build a hospital, health care previously had been provided at home.  In 1896, today’s magnificent Or-Ahayim Hospital was erected by a well-known architect of the period, Gabriel Tedesci. Continuing along the shore, one encounters the striking Bulgarian Church of Saint Stephen, which rises on an island right in the middle of the road. Rumor has it that this church was built in one month. Since the reigning Sultan Abdulaziz granted only a single month for its construction, it was prefabricated in Vienna of cast iron and shipped by sea to Istanbul where it was then assembled. Being distinguished architecturally as the only church of its kind in the world, it also boasts a unique icon of Jesus and the Virgin Mary whose like is not found in any other church. The Armenian Church of Surp Hreshdagabed in Kamış Street attracts attention for its unusual architecture and its ‘ayazma’ or holy spring. Originally a Greek church, later it was converted into an Armenian church. The bones of Saint Artemios, which were found during a restoration, are on display in the ayazma section underneath the building. There are also numerous Greek churches in the quarter which only open their doors on holidays and other important occasions. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is located in Balat. As we proceed towards it along Vodina Avenue, we see the Greek Boys’ School at the end of the steep intersecting street known as the Sancaktar Yokuş, an imposing, eye-dazzling structure that dominates the quarter from its position on the hill. Next to it stands the Greek Girls’ School where education continues despite a gradually dwindling number of students. Immediately below the school is the house, now converted into a museum, of the Prince of Moldavia, Dimitri Kantemir, who made important contributions to classical Turkish music. When Muslims to began to make their homes here, mosques, dervish lodges, and even an entire mosque complex went up at Balat, where there had been not so much as a ‘mescid’ or small mosque in the time of Mehmed the Conqueror. The best known of these buildings is the Ferruh Kethuda Complex in the street of the same name, designed by the 16th century Ottoman architect known as Mimar Sinan and consisting of a mosque, a dervish lodge, a fountain and court buildings.

BACK TO THE OLD DAYS
Once at Balat the peal of church bells mingled with the drone of prayers rising from the synagogues and the ripple of water in the holy springs. Most of the Jews emigrated to Israel in the 1940’s and in time the other non-Muslim minorities resettled in the more upscale Istanbul districts of Galata, Pera and Şişli. Later Balat continued to offer its traditional hospitality to poor people coming from other areas, including migrants from various parts of Anatolia and even some gypsies who abandoned their nomadic lifestyle to settle here. In recent years, restoration activities have gotten under way in Balat, under the auspices of the European Union in particular, with the aim of recreating its former texture. The old two and three-story houses with their cantilevered balconies are being done up anew, and an effort is being made to restore the streets to their original appearance. But such restoration too brings change in its wake, and Balat is becoming more gentrified by the day. Whether it can return again to the old days is anybody’s guess, but it would seem it is going to continue to be a settlement of diverse communities as time goes on.

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Church of the Virgin of Blachernae (Istanbul)

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The Church of Panagia Blachernae (full name in Greek: Θεοτòκος τών Βλαχερνών (pr. Theotókos tón Blachernón); Turkish name: Meryem Ana Kilisesi) is located in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih, in the neighbourhood of Ayvansaray, along Mustafa Paşa Bostanı Sokak. It lies a few hundred meters inside the walled city, at a short distance from the shore of the Golden Horn. The building is protected by a high wall, and preceded by a garden.

History

The church is near the northern tip of the walls of Theodosius built by the Empress Pulcheria (ca. 450-453), and her husband, Emperor Marcian (450-457). They had the church built on the site of a sacred spring, which was a place of pilgrimage near the shore of the Golden Horn (known as Ayvansaray today). Inside is now the best known and most celebrated sanctuary to the Virgin Mary in Constantinople. Emperor Leo I (457-474) completed the church by adding the “Hagiasma” [1]. [2]He also built the “Hagion Lousma” [3].

Emperor Leo I also built the circular pareklision Hagia Soros (chapel), next to the church to contain the holy robe and girdle of the Virgin Mary, brought from Palestine in 458 (or 473). The chapel of the Virgin’s robe was covered in silver and considered a “reliquary of architectural dimensions.” Lay people were not allowed inside but could pray in the main church.[4] This very shrine housed the miracle-working icon of the Blachernitissa.

In 625-626, Constantinople was attacked by the Avards. Emperor Heraclius (575-641) campaigned against the Persians, however, the icon was carried in a procession along the city walls and so the saving of the city was attributed to the intervention of the Theotokos. In order to protect the sanctuary, and the city from such a siege, Leo I added the famous quarter of Blachernae in 627, with its venerated church, whose image was now considered the palladium of Constantinople. The circumference of the walls were then, and still are, eleven to twelve miles. By this stage, the church of Blachernae had around 75 endowed clerics.

During the iconoclastic period, and according to tradition, the icon disappeared and was then found hidden behind a wall during renovation works in 1030.

The church was burnt down in 1070 and rebuilt by the year 1077 either by Romanos IV Diogenes (1067-78) or Michael VII (1071-87) and then destroyed again by fire in 1434. The church, at this stage, was connected to the Palace of Blachernae by a stairway. After the fire, nothing remained of the fire apart from the Sacred Spring.

In 1867, the modern church was built and further additions have since been made to the structure. It is said, that the Akathistos was first chanted at this location and a special marble plaque, inscribed with the Akathistos verse, a celebrated Byzantine hymn, to the Theotokos, has now been placed above the Hagiasma. In addition, there are four wall paintings by the famous painter Eirenarchos Covas (1964)

To this very day, the spring is reputed to have therapeutic powers. Also associated with the history of this shrine is:

  • the history of the Palace of Blachernae;
  • the history of the Monastery of the Hodegetria
  • the icon, the Panagia Hagiosoritissa.[5];
  • a procession, originating from the time of the Patriarch Timotheos [511-18]—the “panhgur j”—which would take place every Friday from Blachernai to the Church of the Chalkoprateia, near Hagia Sophia, at the other end of the city.[6];
  • the Eastern Council of Blachernae (Constantinople) in 1285. At this council, a significant statement was produced addressing the theological issue of the ‘Filioque’. Despite the concern of Byzantine theologians to oppose the idea of the Filioque and its addition to the creed, there is no reference to it in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy [7];
  • the original icon of Tikhvin (Hodegetria), painted by the Holy Apostle Luke and kept in the Church of Blachernae for about five hundred years. It was sent to Russia in 1383, before the fall of Constantinople. It is said that fishermen saw it surrounded in lights over the Lake of Ladoga in Russia. The icon was later found on the bank of the Tikhvin River and was placed in the local church. Recently, the icon was kept in Chicago and returned to Russia.
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An image from the Vatican Codex of 1162 believed to be a representation of the Church of the Holy Apostles

The Church of the Holy Apostles (Greek: Άγιοι Απόστολοι – Agioi Apostoloi, Turkish: Havariyyun), also known as the Imperial Polyandreion, was a Christian basilica built in Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, in 550. It was second only to the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) among the great churches of the Eastern Empire. When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the Holy Apostles briefly became the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1461, however, it was taken over by the Ottomans and demolished to make way for the Fatih Mosque.

History

The original Holy Apostles was dedicated in about 330 by Constantine the Great, who made Constantinople the capital of the Roman Empire. The church was unfinished when Constantine died in 337, and it was brought to completion by his son and successor Constantius II, who buried his father’s remains there. The church was dedicated to the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and it was the Emperor’s intention to gather relics of all the Apostles in the church. In the event, only relics of Saint Andrew, Saint Luke and Saint Timothy (the latter two not strictly apostles) were acquired, and in later centuries it came to be assumed that the church was dedicated to these three only.

Little is known of the appearance of this church except that it was cross-shaped. The historian Eusebius says that it was a tall building, with porticoes along the four sides, marble walls and a golden roof. In any event by the reign of the Emperor Justinian I the church was no longer considered grand enough, and a new Church of the Holy Apostles was built on the same site. The historian Procopius attributes the rebuilding to Justinian, while the writer known as Pseudo-Codinus attributes it to the Empress Theodora. The second Holy Apostles was consecrated on 28 June 550.

The new church was designed and built by the architects Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus in the form of a Greek cross with five domes: one above each arm of the cross and one above the central bay where the arms intersected. The western arm of the cross extended westward forming the atrium. The relics of Constantine and the three saints were re-installed in the new church, and a mausoleum for Justinian and his family was built at the end of the northern arm.

For more than 700 years the Holy Apostles was the second-most important church in Constantinople, after the basilica of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia). But whereas the Holy Wisdom was in the oldest part of the city, the Holy Apostles stood in the centre of the newer part of the much expanded imperial capital, on the great thoroughfare called Mese or Centre Street, and was the busiest church in the city. Most Emperors and many patriarchs and bishops were buried in the church and their relics were venerated by the faithful for centuries.

The most treasured possession of the church were the supposed skulls of Saints Andrew, Luke and Timothy, but the church also held relics of Saint John Chrysostom and other Church Fathers, saints and martyrs. The church also held what was believed to be part of the “Column of Flagellation”, to which Jesus had been bound and flogged. Over the years the church acquired huge amounts of gold, silver and gems donated by the faithful.

The church was renovated and probably enlarged in the 9th century by the Emperor Basil I. In the 10th century Constantine of Rhodes composed a Description of the building of the Apostles in verse, which he dedicated to Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. The basilica was looted during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The historian Nicetas Choniates records that the Crusaders plundered the imperial tombs and robbed them of gold and gems. Not even Justinian’s tomb was spared. The tomb of Emperor Heraclius was opened and his golden crown was stolen along with the late Emperor’s hairs still attached on it. Some of these treasures were taken to Venice, where they can still be seen in St Mark’s Basilica.

When Michael VIII Palaeologus recaptured the city from the Crusaders, he erected a statue of the Archangel Michael at the church to commemorate the event, and himself. The church was restored again by Andronicus II Palaeologus in the early 14th century, but thereafter fell into disrepair as the Byzantine Empire declined and Constantinople’s population fell. The Florentine Cristoforo Buondelmonti saw the dilapidated church in 1420.

In 1453 Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. The Holy Wisdom was seized and turned into a mosque, and the Sultan Mehmed II ordered the Greek Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius to move to the Holy Apostles, which thus became the centre of the Greek Orthodox Church. But the area around the church was soon settled by Turks, and there was increasing hostility to such a large and centrally located building remaining in Christian hands. Gennadius therefore decided to move the Patriarchate to the Church of St Mary Pammakaristos in the main Christian part of the city, the Phanar district.

Rather than convert the Holy Apostles into a mosque, Mehmed decided to demolish it and build a mosque of comparable magnificence on the site. The result was the Fatih Cami (Mosque of the Conqueror), which still occupies the site and houses Mehmed’s tomb.

Appearance

Apart from the illustration shown above, there is no visual record of the Holy Apostles, but St Mark’s Basilica in Venice was partly modelled on it (as was the Cathedrale de Saint Front in Périgeux, although probably more loosely). The 12th century writer Nicholas Mesarites has left a description of the church, of which only parts survive.

Fatih Cami (Mosque of the Conqueror)

—————————————-

The Church of the Holy Apostles (Greek: Άγιοι Απόστολοι – Aghioi Apostoloi), also known as the Imperial Polyandreion, was a Christian basilica built in Constantinople (then the capital of the Byzantine Empire) in 550. It was second only to the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) among the great churches of the Eastern Empire. When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the Holy Apostles briefly became the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1461, however, it was taken over by the Ottomans and demolished to make way for a mosque.

The original Holy Apostles was dedicated in about 330 by Constantine the Great, who made Contantinople the capital of the Roman Empire. The church was unfinished when Constantine died in 337, and it was brought to completion by his son and successor Constantius II, who buried his father’s remains there. The church was dedicated to the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and it was the Emperor’s intention to gather relics of all the Apostles in the church. In the event, only relics of Saint Andrew, Saint Luke and Saint Timothy were acquired, and in later centuries it came to be assumed that the church was dedicated to these three only.

Little is known of the appearance of this church except that it was cross-shaped. The historian Eusebius says that it was a tall building, with porticoes along the four sides, marble walls and a golden roof. In any event by the reign of the Emperor Justinian I the church was no longer considered grand enough, and a new Church of the Holy Apostles was built on the same site. The historian Procopius attributes the rebuilding to Justinian, while the writer known as Pseudo-Codinus attributes it to the Empress Theodora. The second Holy Apostles was consecrated on 28 June 550.

The new church was designed and built by the architects Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus in the form of a Greek cross with five domes: one above each arm of the cross and one above the central bay where the arms intersected. The western arm of the cross extended westward forming the atrium. The relics of Constantine and the three Apostles were re-installed in the new church, and a mausoleum for Justinian and his family was built at the end of the northern arm.

For more than 700 years the Holy Apostles was the second-most important church in Constantinople, after the basilica of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia). But whereas the Holy Wisdom was in the oldest part of the city, the Holy Apostles stood in the centre of the newer part of the much expanded imperial capital, on the great thoroughfare called Mese or Centre Street, and was the busiest church in the city. Most Emperors and many patriarchs and bishops were buried in the church and their relics were venerated by the faithful for centuries.

The most treasured possession of the church were the supposed skulls of Saints Andrew, Luke and Timothy, but the church also held relics of Saint John Chrysostom and other Church Fathers, saints and martyrs. The church also held what was believed to be part of the “Column of Flagellation”, to which Jesus had been bound and flogged. Over the years the church acquired huge amounts of gold, silver and gems donated by the faithful.

The church was renovated and probably enlarged in the 9th century by the Emperor Basil I. In the 10th century Constantine of Rhodes composed a Description of the building of the Apostles in verse, which he dedicated to Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. The basilica was looted during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The historian Nicetas Choniates records that the Crusaders plundered the imperial tombs and robbed them of gold and gems. Not even Justinian’s tomb was spared. Some of these treasures were carted off to Venice, where they can still be seen in St Mark’s Basilica. When Michael VIII Palaeologus recaptured the city from the Crusaders, he erected a statue of the Archangel Michael at the church to commemorate the event, and himself. The church was restored again by Andronicus II in the early 14th century, but thereafter fell into disrepair as the Byzantine Empire declined and Constantinople’s population fell. The Florentine Cristoforo Buondelmonti saw the dilapidated church in 1420.

In 1453 Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. The Holy Wisdom was seized and turned into a mosque, and the Sultan Mehmed II ordered the Greek Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius to move to the Holy Apostles, which thus became the centre of the Greek Orthodox Church. But the area around the church was soon settled by Turks, and there was increasing hostility to such a large and centrally located building remaining in Christian hands. Gennadius therefore decided to move the Patriarchate to the Church of St Mary Pammakaristos in the main Christian part of the city, the Phanar district.

Rather than convert the Holy Apostles into a mosque, Mehmed decided to demolish it and build a mosque of comparable magnificence on the site. The result was the Fatih Cami (Mosque of the Conqueror), which still occupies the site and houses Mehmed’s tomb. Apart from the illustration shown above, there is no visual record of the Holy Apostles, but St Mark’s Basilica in Venice is partly modelled on it. The 12th century writer Nicholas Mesarites has left a description of the church (see external link), of which only parts survive.

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According to the historian Michael Doukas, on the morning of 29 May 1453, the small postern called Kerkoporta was left open by accident, allowing the first fifty or so Ottoman troops to enter the city. The Ottomans raised their banner atop the Inner Wall and opened fire on the Greek defenders of the peribolos below. This spread panic, and began the rout of the defenders and the fall of the city.[88] In 1864, the remains of a postern located on the Outer Wall at the end of the Theodosian Walls, between tower 96 and the so-called Palace of the Porphyrogenitus, were discovered, and identified by A.G. Paspates with the Kerkoporta. Later scholars, like van Millingen[89] and Steven Runciman[90] have accepted this theory as well. However, excavations at the site have uncovered no evidence of a gate in the Inner Wall (now vanished) in that area, and it may be that Doukas’ story is either invention or derived from the earlier legend concerning the Xylokerkos Gate, which several earlier scholars also equated with the Kerkoporta. [91]

Theodosian Land Walls, Belgrade Gate/Second Military Gate/Xylokerkos Gate 1 by jgmdoran.
Theodosian Land Walls, Belgrade Gate/Second Military Gate/Xylokerkos Gate

The Kerkoporta (Greek Κερκόπορτα) was a sally-port along the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople, near the bend created by the addition of the Blachernae suburb to the original city. It was through this unattended gate that the first Ottoman troops entered the city, raising their banner atop the tower and beginning the rout of the Christian defenders.

The traditional story is that the gate was inadvertently left unattended, however, recent historians have questioned this point, raising the possibility that some of the city’s population may have decided to surrender, as their situation was hopeless, and purposely let the Turkish soldiers in. This theory is based on the fact that Constantinople’s people were sharply divided over issues such as reconciliation with the Western Church at the time of the city’s fall.

wiki.phantis.com/index.php/Kerkoporta

With Giustiniani’s Genoese troops retreating into the city and towards the harbour, Constantine and his men, now left to their own devices, kept fighting and managed to hold off the attackers for a while. At this point, some historians suggest that the Kerkoporta gate in the Blachernae section had been left unlocked, and the Ottomans soon discovered this mistake.[48] The Ottomans rushed in. Around the same time, the defenders were being overwhelmed at several points in Constantine’s section. When Turkish flags were seen flying above the Kerkoporta, a panic ensued and the defense collapsed, as Janissary soldiers, led by Ulubatlı Hasan pressed forward. It is said that Constantine, throwing aside his purple regalia, led the final charge against the oncoming Ottomans, dying in the ensuing battle in the streets like his soldiers, although his ultimate fate remains unknown.[49]

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Here, there are two more gates, memorable in history: one is most probably gone, or buried deep in the ground; another is still in place, almost intact. The former is the little GATE of KERKOPORTA, the opening of which was to seal the fate of the Empire; as a large section of walls had been brought down by the bombardment, the soldiers found it difficult to pass into the peribolos without being seen by the Turks. “There were, however, some old men who knew of an under-ground sally-port at the lower end of the Palace (of Porphyrogenitus) that many years before, had been sealed shut. The Emperor commanded that it be opened. The name of this hidden door was Kerkoporta.” ( Doukas) Walking about the vacant land between the inner wall and the palace, which is still standing, I sadly thought of the events that took place here after the opening of the sally-port; when a company of Turkish nobles saw the sally-port open “they leaped inside, climbed to the top of the walls and zealously slew anyone they met…” They then lowered the Emperor’s flag and planted the Sultan’s standard; when those fighting in the outer fortifications looked up and saw the Turkish flag flying on the towers the cry rose that “ the CITY HAS FALLEN ! ” Panic-stricken, they all fled into the city through the GATE OF ADRIANOPLE. The Emperor too fell at his post. From the Gate of Adrianople, which is the second of the gates mentioned above, and through every available breach on the walls, the Turks began to spread into the fallen City.

www.istanbulstrolls.com/8h.htm

In this account of  the last conflict Gibbon has omitted a highly important fact which hastened the capture of the city. This fact is not mentioned by Phrantzes; it rests on the authority of Ducas(p. 28o-5) and is confirmeb dy a short statemen ot f Critobulu (si. 6o adfin.).North of the Porta Charseaeso, uthofthe Porta Caligariain, a transverswe ail which connects the inner and outer Theodosia wnalis, thereisa smaUpostern (found by M.Paspatesw)  hichis called the Kerkoport bay Ducas(wrongly?a)n, dwas alwayks epts hut,but had been opened by Giustinianio’s rderfsor the purpose of a possiblesortie.Someof the Greekswhowerefightingin thespace betweetnheinnerandtheoutewr betweetnheinnerandtheoutewr allp, ressedbytheenemyr,etreatetdhrough theKerkoportaan, dfiftyTurksfoUowetdhem, astheyneglectetdoshutthe gate. MoreTurkssoonpressedin,andothersmountedthewalis,captured
thetowerclosetothegate,andsetup theOttomanstandards onthewalls. TheretreatoftheGreeksw, howereoutsidethe innerwall,bytheKerkoportawasnowcutoff, andseeingthe flagsof the foeonthe battlements theythrongedback throughthePortaCharseaew, hichwasthenleft undefendeds, othattheTurkscouldenterbythisgatetoo. TheTurkswho
thuspenetratedseemtohavebetakenthemselveast firstto theharbousride ofthecity,andsometimeelapsedbefore thecombatantsat theGateofSt. Romanus, wherethe fightwasragingmosthotly,learnedwhathadhappened.
Phrantze(swithouetxplainingd)escribetshe arrivaolfthe tidings (p.285). Acrywasheardon theharbourside:”The fortis taken,the standardosf thefoeareon the towersl”ThenConstantinsepurredhis horseintothe thickof the fray.]
atDucaskillshim withtwoblowsof Turkishsoldiers;Chalcondyles woundhsimin theshouldera, ndthentramplehsiminthegate. Thegrief ofPhranzacarrying himamongthe enemyescapesfromthepreciseimage

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The section of the Theodosian Walls that adjoins the walls of Blachernae, with the Palace of Porphyrogenitus in the background, as they appear today in suburban Istanbul.

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Balat’s Ahrida Synagogue, founded in the 15th century before the Ottoman conquest, is Istanbul’s oldest Synogogue. Although it was founded by Macedonians from the town of Ohrid (of which ‘Ahrida’ is a corruption), its congregation was later formed from the Sephardic community that was booted out of Spain during the inquisitions. The wooden dome, restored in 17th-century baroque style, remains exquisitely beautiful. The place is still in use by the Sephardic community, many of whom speak the medieval Spanish dialect Ladino.
Entrance is only by appointment with the Chief Rabbinate

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Kariye Muzesi

KARIYE MUZESI (CHORA MUSEUM)

Kariye Museum originally formed the center of a Byzantine monastery complex. Only the church section, which was dedicated to Jesus Christ the Savior, has survived. After the arrival of the Turks in Istanbul, this building, like the Hagia Sophia, was converted into a mosque. In 1948 it was made a museum leaving no Islamic element in the building except the 19C minaret outside in the corner.

“Kariye” is the Turkish adaptation of an ancient Greek word “Chora” which refers to countryside. Considering the perimeter of the walls of Constantine (4C AD) the building was located out of the city. If this theory is correct Chora Monastery should have been from the 4C. But unfortunately according to sources, the existence of Chora Monastery before the 8C is not certain.

Chora went through many restorations the last most significant instigated by Theodorus Metochitus, prime minister and first lord of the treasury, in the beginning of the 14C. The three most important features of the church, mosaics, frescoes and the funerary chapel (Paracclesion) are from that period. Theodorus Metochitus built the Paracclesion for himself and he was buried in the entrance of the church; his grave bears a marble stone. The art of painting in frescoes and mosaics were the indications of a new Byzantine art movement which was parallel to Italian Renaissance started by Giotto (1266-1337).

The building consists of the nave, the inner narthex, outer narthex and the paracclesion. The domes of the inner narthex and the paracclesion are lower than the main dome and are only seen from the rear of the church. The drum is supported on four huge pilasters in the corners and four great arches spring from these. The transition is supplied by pendentives. The drum has 16 flutes, each pierced by a window. Entrance to the nave is through both inner and outer narthexes. The niches in the paracclesion were built to keep sarcophagi, as this section was the funerary chapel.

In the mosaics, the lives of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary are depicted. Background elements and architectural motifs are highlighted to give depth. The scenes are realistic as if they were taken from daily life with figures correctly proportioned. Jesus has a humanitarian look upon his face.

Mosaics can be divided into 7 cycles: the nave panels; the six large dedicatory panels in the inner and outer narthexes; the ancestry of Jesus in the two domes of the inner narthex; life of the Virgin Mary in the first three bays of the inner narthex; the infancy of Jesus in the lunettes of the outer narthex; the ministry of Jesus on the vaults of the outer narthex and the fourth bay in the inner narthex; and finally the portraits of the saints on the arches and pilasters of the inner narthex.

 

 

Mosaics of major importance are as follows:

Nave; (1) Koimesis, the Dormition of the Virgin. Before ascending to Heaven, her last sleep. Jesus is holding an infant, symbol of Mary\’s soul; (2) Jesus Christ; (3) The Virgin Mary.

Inner Narthex; (4) The Enthroned Christ with the Donor, Theodorus Metochitus offering a model of his church; (5) St. Peter; (6) St. Paul; (7) Deesis, Christ and the Virgin Mary (without St. John the Baptist) with two donors below; (8) Genealogy of Christ; (9) Religious and noble ancestors of Christ.

The mosaics in the first three bays of the inner narthex give an account of the Virgin\’s birth and life. Some of them are as follows: (10) Rejection of Joachim\’s offerings; (11) Annunciation of St. Anne, the angel of the Lord announcing to Anne that her prayer for a child has been heard; (12) Meeting of Joachim and Anne; (13) Birth of the Blessed the Virgin; (14) First seven steps of the Virgin; (15) The Virgin caressed by her parents; (16) The Virgin blessed by the priests; (17) Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple; (18) The Virgin receiving bread from an Angel; (19) The Virgin receiving the skein of purple wool, as the priests decided to have the attendant maidens weave a veil for the Temple; (20) Zacharias praying, when it was the time to marry for the Virgin, High Priest Zacharias called all the widowers together and placed their rods on the altar, praying for a sign showing to whom she should be given; (21) The Virgin entrusted to Joseph; (22) Joseph taking the Virgin to his house; (23) Annunciation to the Virgin at the well; (24) Joseph leaving the Virgin, Joseph had to leave for six months on business and when he returned the Virgin was pregnant and he became angry.

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Here it continues not chronologically: (42-44) Miracles.

Outer Narthex; (25) Joseph\’s dream and Journey to Bethlehem; (26) Enrollment for taxation; (27) Nativity, birth of Christ; (28) Journey of the Magi; (29) Inquiry of Herod; (30) Flight into Egypt; (31-32) Massacres ordered by Herod; (33) Mothers mourning for their children; (34) Flight of Elizabeth, mother of St. John the Baptist; (35) Joseph dreaming, Return of the holy family from Egypt to Nazareth; (36) Christ taken to Jerusalem for the Passover; (37) St. John the Baptist bearing witness to Christ; (38) Miracle; (39-41) Miracles.

(45) Jesus Christ; (46) The Virgin and Angels praying.

Paracclesion; The pictures here are frescoes. This chapel was designed to be a burial place. Among the major frescoes in the paracclesion are as follows: (47) Anastasis, the Resurrection. Christ, who had just broken down the gates of Hell, is standing in the middle and trying to pull Adam and the Virgin Mary out of their tombs. Behind Adam stand St. John the Baptist, David and Solomon. Others are righteous kings; (48) The Second coming of Christ, the last judgment. Jesus is enthroned and on both sides the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist (this trio is also called the Deesis); (49) The Virgin and Child; (50) Heavenly Court of Angels; (51-52) Moses.

Kariye Muzesi, (Chora Museum), Istanbul

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