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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.

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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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Gate of the Spring

The Gate of the Spring.

The Gate of the Spring or Pēgē Gate (Πύλη τῆς Πηγῆς) was named so after a popular monastery outside the Walls, the Zōodochos Pēgē (“Life-giving Spring“) in the modern suburb of Balıklı. Its modern Turkish name, Gate of Selymbria (Tr. Silivri Kapısı, Gk. Πύλη τῆς Συλημβρίας), appears already in Byzantine sources shortly before 1453.[67] It lies between towers 35 and 36, which were extensively rebuilt in later Byzantine times, while the gate arch itself was replaced in Ottoman times.[68] Van Millingen identifies this gate with the early Byzantine Gate of Melantias (Πόρτα Μελαντιάδος),[69] but more recent scholars have proposed an identification with one of the gates of the city’s original Constantinian Wall.

It was over this gate that the forces of the Empire of Nicaea, under General Alexios Strategopoulos entered and retook the city from the Latins on 25 July 1261.[70]

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Famous throughout Turkey for its yogurt, Kanlıca’s specialty is made with a mixture of cow and sheep milk. This is not an ordinary, store-bought treat. Kanlıca yogurt is so thick that it was originally served by cutting it with a knife. The true test of quality was said to be that the yogurt would remain firm, even if it were accidentally spilled on the ground. While today’s version may not be as solid as it once was, it is still dished up with sugar sprinkled across the top of the creamy skin.

However, there is more to Kanlıca than merely yogurt. Situated on the shores of the Bosporus at its narrowest point, Kanlıca is more like a sleepy fishing village than a suburb of bustling İstanbul. No one knows for certain how this hamlet got its name. One theory is that before the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans, this was the area where many two-wheeled ox carts (kağnı) were made by artisans who had emigrated from Anatolia. Another theory is that the village name refers to the red seaside villas that once lined its shores.

During Byzantine times, the area was known as Boradion in honor of the nephew of Justinian I. By the time of Süleyman the Magnificent’s reign, Kanlıca was a town of 1,200 inhabitants, surrounded by gardens, forests and vineyards. People often arrived by boat for moonlit parties along the Bosporus. In the 17th century, Mehmet IV presented the town and vicinity to Sheikh Bahaeddin Efendi, and the area became known as Bahai Körfezi, or Bahai Bay. Eventually, though, the name reverted back to Kanlıca. This was a popular place for equestrians who came for long rides in the surrounding wooded areas. Even today, the Mihrabat Woods, high above the village, are a popular spot for weddings and picnics.

Visitors disembarking from the ferries exit to a small square that has one of the best-known landmarks of Kanlıca — the İskenderpaşa Mosque. This mosque was commissioned by Gazi İskender Paşa. Built by master architect Mimar Sinan, the mosque dates back to 1560. Originally the mosque was part of a complex that included a hamam and school. Sadly, all that remains now is the mosque.

In addition to its rich yogurt, Kanlıca is also known for the many yalıs that line the Bosporus shoreline of the village. A reminder of the area’s more elegant past, the wooden yalıs are perched on the water’s edge, some lovingly restored to their former glory, while others are slowly falling into decay. Among the many yalıs that adorn the shores, there are a few of note, none of which are open to the public, however. These are best viewed from the water.

The oldest yalı on the Bosporus is the Köprülü Amcazade Hüseyin Paşa Yalısı (the “Köprülü Yalı”), located between Anadoluhısarı and Kanlıca. Built in 1698 by Hüseyin Paşa, grand vizier under Sultan Mustafa II, it was here, in 1699, that the Treaty of Karlowitz was signed, acknowledging the Ottoman Empire’s loss of territory in Austria, Venice, Poland and Russia. Sadly, all that remains of this once grand home is the T-shaped salon, with its dome propped up to keep it from completely collapsing.

Dating back to the 1850s is the Sadrazam Kadri Paşa Yalı, another of the wooden mansions that line the shores of Kanlıca. This mansion was bought by Kadri Paşa when he married the daughter of the palace physician, İsmail Paşa. A grand vizier to the sultan, he later went on to serve as the governor of Edirne. Following his death in 1883, the mansion was passed down to his heirs.

Considered by some architects to be the epitome of 19th century arabesque style, the Ethem Pertev Yalı is featured in almost every guidebook of mansions on the Bosporus. Built in the mid-19th century by a former palace courtesan, the residence recently underwent massive renovations to restore it to its former glory. After her passing, the yalı was bought by Ethem Pertev, who opened one of the first modern pharmacies in the Ottoman Empire. He also bought the lot next to the yalı and expanded the structure. Disaster struck the family, however, when his youngest son, Fehmi, was found drowned next to the boathouse. In 1932, the yalı was bought by Murside Günesin, a widow with two sons. In the mid-1940s, the household was stunned when a ferry slammed into the house. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident, and there was minimal damage to the dwelling. Her sons continued to live in the yalı on and off and they raised their families there. Eventually, though, the house was sold once again, this time in May 2000, to the Köprülü family.

Two other wooden mansions of note in Kanlıca are the Hacı Reşit Bey and Princess Rükiye yalıs. The Hacı Reşit Bey Yalı was built in the 1850s and was restored in the 1980s by Barlas Turan. The Princess Rükiye Yalı, located next to the Hacı Reşit Bey mansion, was presented to Princess Rükiye, the daughter of the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Abbas Halim Paşa. In later years, the house passed on to Princess Iffet, one of the relatives of Khedive Ismail Paşa. In 1957, the mansion was purchased by Özdemir Atman.

Even though it is a part of the sprawling city, Kanlıca has managed to retain the feeling of a small, intimate village. Tucked away in a cove on the Bosporus just past the second bridge, Kanlıca offers a step back to a more sedate, elegant time.

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The story of this building is inextricably tied to the life of Romano Lakapenos, son of Armenian peasants whose father was an imperial guardsman. His biography is, as expected, tortuously long and convoluted, so suffice it to say that Lakapenos distinguished himself as a militarily and politically savvy individual who became the trusted friend, and then father-in-law, of the young Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. In A.D. 920, a year after the wedding of his daughter to the under-aged emperor, Lakapenos was crowned co-emperor, and in later years bestowed the same honor upon his own sons Christopher, Stephen, and Constantine.

 

Around the time of his ascension to the throne, Lakapenos acquired a building, itself with a bit of history. Here we go again: The building once was an unfinished 5th-century-A.D. rotunda so huge that if completed would have been second in size only to the Pantheon in Rome. Later, it was surmounted — by the help of a raised platform — by a building reportedly used as a market and place of executions. When Lakapenos bought the building, he had it converted into a monastery and added the adjoining church, called the Myrelaion, or Place of Myrrh (finally, to the punch line). The oversize foundation of the church allowed it to sit at the same level of the palace. The church is built on a dome-in-cross plan, which makes it the first of its type of all of the churches of the same type in Constantinople. When converted to a mosque, the Ottomans called it Bodrum Camii, or mosque with a cellar. The adjoining palace has been replaced by concrete blocks.

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Most historians ascribe the foundation of this convent to the Emperor Romanus I Lecapenus ( 920 – 944), though Pseudo-Codinus mentions the existence of an earlier monastery in the 8th century. The Myrelaion was a nunnery to which many members of the imperial family made generous donations. Anna Dalassena, mother of Alexius I Comnenus, ceded to the monastery the island of Leros, as recorded in documents of the years 1085 and 1087. Several members of the Macedonian Dynasty and of the Dynasty of the Comneni were buried in the convent. Petrus Gyllius (1561) was the first to identify the monastery of the Myrelaion with the Bodrum Camii. It is not certain in whose name this church had been consecrated. According to the “Life of St. Andrew of Salou”, (lOth century), the church appears to have belonged to the convent dedicated to the Theotokos. A miracle-working icon is also related to the Theotokos.

The monastery, converted after the Conquest into a mosque (Bodrum Camii), was destroyed by fire twice, in 1784 and on 23 July 1911. In 1930, D. Talbot-Rice and The. Makridis excavated the site in an attempt to find the tombs of Romanus’s family. Today the only surviving part of the Byzantine monastery is the katholikon, a church of the .cross-in-square plan with a dome resting on four piers. Three apses, polygonal on the outside with the middle one larger, project from the east end, while a transverse narthex runs along the west side. The architecture of the church is considered a masterpiece. The exterior is articulated by alternating half-cylindrical brick buttresses and arched openings, the symmetrical vaulted roofs of the cross-arms and the elegant dome.

The whole impression is one of balance and harmony. The church is a two-storeyed edifice, for it has a crypt below almost repeating the plan and size of the church-the aisles, narthex and part of the sanctuary. The. only difference is that the dome is replaced by cross-vaults resting on four columns with Corinthian capitals. The columns and the corresponding piers above are on the same vertical axis, and the manner in which the basement crypt supports the upper structure is quite ingenious. The basement-crypt has probably given to the monastery the name of Bodrum Camii, when it was converted into a mosque in 1574 under Murad III. Makridis reports that a fine portrait of a princess discovered during excavations at the south side of the crypt is now missing. The crypt probably contained the tombs of kings and noblemen.

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The circular cistern preserved to the NW of the church is quite remarkable. Seventy of the various-sized columns that supported the roof have survived. The Bodrum Camii was consolidated and restored in the last twenty years. Occasional information on the monastery of the Myrelaion is provided by the Byzantine historians John Scylitzes, Leo Grammaticus, George Cedrenus, George Codinus. In addition to the traditional appelation of “Myrelaion”, Codinus also uses for the convent the name of “Myrodynon”.

Bodrum Mosque (Myrelaion Monastery Church) 920

This monument shows the special features of the Middle period of Byzantine Architecture.
It is thought to have been erected as a church for the Myrelaion Monastery. One of its features is the plan in the form of a Greek cross commonly used in the Byzantine architecture of this time. The crypt, which bears traces of fresco painting, forms the foundation supporting the upper structure. The tripartite narthex leads into the main body of the church which is covered by a dome supported on a drum with tall windows. The four stone pillars supporting the pendentives of the dome are thought to be replacements for the original ones of marble which were damaged during a fire in 1784.. The four barrel-vaults covering the areas on each side of the dome form the shape of a Greek cross. On the east of the building there is an apse which forms a half-circle on the inside but is tripartite on the outside where the rooms of the pastaforion on both sides form the shape of a clover. Blind arches placed between round pillars on the outside of the building create plasticity and a great feeling of movement.
In the 16th century during the reign of Beyazit II the church was converted to a mosque by the Grand Vizier, Mesih Ali Pasa.
From the plan point of view, the building resembles that of Fenari Isa Mosque, the former Church (North) of Constantine Lips built in 907.

Myrelaion (Bodrum Mosque) Cistern

The building beside the Bodrum (Myrelaion) Mosque, which has a central plan and dates from Roman times, was turned into a cistern during the Byzantine era and is known as the Bordum Mosque Cistern.
The external diameter of the building is 30 m, and the thickness of the walls is about 5 m. Four circular niches on the inside are separated from each other by two rectangular niches placed opposite each other. The plan, altough it has its own original features, resembles, in particular, those of the Pantheon in Rome and the Galerius Mausoleum in Salonica.
In Byzantine times, it was turned into a cistern by the addition of disparate columns. Considering the part dome- part transverse vaulting dating from Byzantine times which covers it, various reasearches suggest that this may have been the foundation for the 10th century palace of Romanus I Lecapenus.
During the work of cleaning carried out in 1965, bits and pieces from Byzantine and Ottoman times were found among the debris. The most important of these was a piece found to belong to a porphyry statue. The archaeologist Nezih Firatli declared this to be the part broken off from the group statue of the “Tetrarchs” now in the southwest corner of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Measurements confirmed this assertation and thus it was established for sure that the statue of the Tetrarchs had been carried off from Istanbul. Until this find came to light, it had been supposed that the group aforementioned had been takento Venice from the city of Acra in Palestine. Following the restoration of 1992, the cistern once more became a marketplace.�

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The Church we know today as Hagia Sophia – or Divine Wisdom, its true name – was dedicated by the Emperor Justinian in 537AD. Through many visitudes Justinian’s cathedral church of Constantunople still stands, its soring vaults and amazing dome testiments to the human spirit, the engineering talents of its builders and Divine inspiration.

Justinian’s church was not the first on the site. The original was built by the Emperor Constantius in 360. This church burned in 404 and was rebuilt by the Emperor Theodosius II in 415. Just over 100 years later this second church was suffered the same fate as the first, being burned in the famous Nike riot of January 532.

The destruction of Hagia Sophia allowed Justinian to build a church like none other ever seen before. The scale of the building exceeded any domed building attempted before and tested the abilities of the Emperor’s architects and emptied the state treasury. Hagia Sophia was – and is – justly celebrated for the luxuriousness and opulenence of it’s decoration which included rare and costly marbles, acres of gold mosaic and rich liturgical furnishings.

Throughout the centuries Justinian’s masterpiece has undergone many changes including earthquakes, sacking by foreign armies, conversion to Islamic useage and finally its conversion to a museum. The amazing survival of Hagia Sophia is due to the love and care of centuries of believers who have made it a home of prayer, history and art.

Location of the Mosaic in Hagia Sophia

The Deesis mosaic was a later addition of the 12-13th centuries to the upper South Gallery of the Church. Above, looking west, we can see the mosaic on the left in the corner. During Byzantine times this area of the church was reserved for members of the Imperial family and the court who viewed the liturgy from this easternmost bay of the church. A wooden Staircase and passage way connected this part of the church directly to the Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors.

Originally the vaults of the gallery were covered with mosaics of Pentecost and Seraphim. This all came down in an earthquake in 1894.

Within this area are two other famous mosaics showing Emperors and Empresses with Christ and the Virgin.

Whittemore and conservators at work

The Image above shows the scale of the upper gallery. Here we see Thomas Whittemore and other conservators working on the vaults of the gallery in the 1930’s. Thomas Whittemore can be seen at lower left wearing a dark hat looking up.

Plan of Hagia Sophia

The plan above shows the location of the mosaic, which is open to the public today. It is a must-see for anyone visiting Istanbul. No photograph does the mosaic justice as the skilled and varied placement of the mosaic cubes creates a schimmer of light that cannot be captured by the camera. Many consider this mosaic among the greatest treasures of world art and culture. Among Christians it is often called the finest representation of Christ. It is a great tragedy that most of the mosaic has been lost but the survival of the beautiful faces of Christ, His Mother and St. John the Bapitist is nothing short of miraculous.

The Church we know today as Hagia Sophia – or Divine Wisdom, its true name – was dedicated by the Emperor Justinian in 537AD. Through many visitudes Justinian\’s cathedral church of Constantunople still stands, its soring vaults and amazing dome testiments to the human spirit, the engineering talents of its builders and Divine inspiration.

Justinian\’s church was not the first on the site. The original was built by the Emperor Constantius in 360. This church burned in 404 and was rebuilt by the Emperor Theodosius II in 415. Just over 100 years later this second church was suffered the same fate as the first, being burned in the famous Nike riot of January 532.

The destruction of Hagia Sophia allowed Justinian to build a church like none other ever seen before. The scale of the building exceeded any domed building attempted before and tested the abilities of the Emperor\’s architects and emptied the state treasury. Hagia Sophia was – and is – justly celebrated for the luxuriousness and opulenence of it\’s decoration which included rare and costly marbles, acres of gold mosaic and rich liturgical furnishings.

Throughout the centuries Justinian\’s masterpiece has undergone many changes including earthquakes, sacking by foreign armies, conversion to Islamic useage and finally its conversion to a museum. The amazing survival of Hagia Sophia is due to the love and care of centuries of believers who have made it a home of prayer, history and art.

The Deesis mosaic was a later addition of the 12-13th centuries to the upper South Gallery of the Church. Above, looking west, we can see the mosaic on the left in the corner. During Byzantine times this area of the church was reserved for members of the Imperial family and the court who viewed the liturgy from this easternmost bay of the church. A wooden Staircase and passage way connected this part of the church directly to the Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors.

Originally the vaults of the gallery were covered with mosaics of Pentecost and Seraphim. This all came down in an earthquake in 1894.

Within this area are two other famous mosaics showing Emperors and Empresses with Christ and the Virgin.

The Image above shows the scale of the upper gallery. Here we see Thomas Whittemore and other conservators working on the vaults of the gallery in the 1930\’s. Thomas Whittemore can be seen at lower left wearing a dark hat looking up.

The plan above shows the location of the mosaic, which is open to the public today. It is a must-see for anyone visiting Istanbul. No photograph does the mosaic justice as the skilled and varied placement of the mosaic cubes creates a schimmer of light that cannot be captured by the camera. Many consider this mosaic among the greatest treasures of world art and culture. Among Christians it is often called the finest representation of Christ. It is a great tragedy that most of the mosaic has been lost but the survival of the beautiful faces of Christ, His Mother and St. John the Bapitist is nothing short of miraculous.

The wall where the Deesis was uncovered

In 1933 the Byzantine Institute of America began testing the wall where it was believed the great Deesis mosaic might still exist beneath layers of plaster. The first incision in the plaster took place on July 14, 1934. The first season of work took four months and ended in late November of the same year. The panel is 5.95m (19.5 ft) wide and 4.08m (13.5 ft) tall.

The figures begin to emerge

Above we can see the ghostly images start to emerge. The painted plaster decoration above the panel was meant to imitate 6th century mosaic work and it comes from a 19th century restoration. The marble vine-leaf cornice is probably from the time of Justinian.

The wall where the Deesis was uncovered

For another four years work continued on the uncovering of the mosaic by Thomas Whittemore and his assistants. The line in the wall shows where brick lines up with stonework

The mosaic uncovered and restored

Although the actual removal of plaster took only one year, further seasons of work were required to consolidate and restore the mosaic. Publication of the discovery of the mosaic created a sensation in the art world. Never before had a mosaic of this artistry been seen and the level of technique surpassed anything seen before. The discovery of the mosaic was a sad reminder of how much of Byzantine monumental art has been lost over time.

Christ the Savior

Although the exact date of the creation of the mosaic is unknown. There are no surviving Byzantine writings that mention it and Byzantine artists usuially did not sign their works. Based on style it is possible to attribute the mosaic to a specific period of Byzantine art from late 12th to mid 13th centuries. It is believed that the mosaic either dates from 1185 – 1204 (in 1204 the city fell to Crusading armies ending all artsistic patronage in the city) – or just after 1261 when the Byzantines regained their capital from the Latin invaders.

The skill with which the mosaic is amazing. The mosaic is laid with astonishing exactness which can especially be seen in the many tiny tessellae making up the faces. A vast number of colors was used in the work and many of the tessellae are laid at angle to take advantage of raking light from a window on the left. This light transfuses the glass tessellae and seems to illuminate them from within. It was immediately apparent to the restorers that a great artist was at work here.

The panel must be the work of a team or mosaic attelier resident in Constantinople for the size of the work would require weeks of work by many skilled craftsmen. Their skill is the accumulated knowlege of generations of artists who created vast expanses of monumental mosaics in golden vaults and domes churches of Constantinople.

It is curious to observe the level of workmanship being applied to such a large panel. The master artist was completely at home in this difficult technique using the skill of a miniaturist on a monumental scale. Considering the limited amount of time the artist has to create the mosaic we can observe in awe his rapid compostion and speed of execution.

After the conquest of the city by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 and the conversion of the church into a mosque many of the mosaics ot the church remained visable, even into the 18th century. It is not known when the Deesis was covered, but it may have been at the direction of an enlightened Sultan wishing to preserve the mosaic from religious zealots.

Not all of the damage to the panel can be attributed to iconoclasts; it seems most of the damage to the figure of the Virgin was most likely caused by the wind and rain from the huge window to her left. For decades wind and rain poured through these windwows which were often open to the outside. elements.

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The Hagia Sophia is the most important surviving work of byzantine architecture in Byzantium. It was first built in the fourth century and inaugurated in 360. After a fire in 404 it was replaced by the second church which burned again in 532.
Front to back: Theodosian Basilica, Hagia Sophia as it was in 537 and after the dome collapse in 557

The present church was mainly erected between 532 and 537 during the reign of Justinian. In its architectural form, it tries to reconcile the traditions of longitudinal basilicas and central vaulted churches.The main dome which had a diameter of over 30 m was the biggest church dome until the fifteenth century.

 

The Hagia Sophia was the church of both the emperor and the patriarch where the most important religious and state ceremonies were held. The emperor had direct access to it from the palace by a bridge crossing the street, and the patriarch had his residence in a palace immediately on the south side of the church.

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As a Christian church, the Hagia Sophia needed to be able to accommodate traditional forms of Christian
worship; the longitudinal form was well suited to the purpose, but the centralized dome, was treated in a
different way than in other domed structures such as the Pantheon.The collective nature of early Christian
worship required a space able to hold large crowds, and the processional nature of the worship necessitated a
longitudinal, linear design.The basilica design satisfied both of these requirements.At the same time, the
double shell structure separates the space into public and private areas.This is in contrast to the Pantheon,
which is centralized but lacks the double shell; this prevents the splitting of space that occurs in the Hagia
Sophia.Such a singular space is clearly not ideal for the Christian worship, as it lacks the necessary sense of procession.By preventing common people from accessing the central area, the longitudinal aspect is preserved.

The manner in which the Hagia Sophia linked the square structure of a basilica with the circular form of
a central dome is also outstanding.This was accomplished by resting the dome on pendentives, shifting the
square form of the basilica into a circle.This again contrasts with the Pantheon, which utilized only a circular
shape.Additionally, the Hagia Sophia featured numerous domes, which streamlined the connection between a
curved space and the rectilinear basilica layout.

Another dramatic shift in the representation of a dome when comparing the Hagia Sophia to the
Pantheon was in how structural necessities were highlighted or downplayed. In the Pantheon, the dome was held
in place with thick walls that were not hidden, revealing the structural system supporting the dome.The Hagia
Sophia attempted to mask the architectural necessities of its massive dome, instead preferring to create the look
that the dome was held aloft by the hand of god himself.The cathedral’s dome applied powerful forces, and
immense piers were required to support its weight.Despite these massive structural necessities the interior of
the Hagia Sophia however attains a feeling of lightness. The Pantheon dome also has an occulos letting in light
from above – this also serves as a mark of respect to the deities who dwell in the heavenly sky. The Hagia
Sophia takes a different approach, opting to instead filter in light through many windows.The light becomes
much more dispersed with the external light source hidden from the visitor.This reinforces the perception that
luminosity is created within the building itself, symbolizing the presence of god. The diffused light is used to
amplify the decorations within the Hagia Sophia.Reflective marble surfaces thrive, reflecting the abundant light
and mirroring descriptions of the holy city of Jerusalem, which is said to not need the sun, or the moon for the
glory of god is its light. The Hagia Sophia attempts to replicate this feeling by splitting the connection between
illumination and the sun or moon.Another function of the reflective surfaces is to render structural masses as
surfaces, lessening the weight of the building like a membrane.

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 |  CATEGORIES: Bosphorus, Scenic & Park & Sightseeing, Whereist Driving Scenic Tour

Rumeli Kavagi
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The last ferry stop on the European shore of the Bosphorus is Rumeli Kavagi. A delightful little fisherman village with the ruins of a medieval castle and several fish restaurants, some of which have a spectacular view over the wild and rocky scenery of the last stretch of Bosphorus to the Black Sea, and looking across to the most substantial castle on the Asian shore above Anadolu Kavagi.

In its heyday a wall connected each castle to the quay, from which a mole projected into the channel on each side. Here the Byzantines collected tolls and customs dues from passing ships. In time of danger they could cut off all shipping with a chain linking the moles a formidable continuous line of defense from hilltop to hilltop.

Telli Baba Shrine is set on the very edge of the water. is the turbe of Telli Baba, a holly man whose turbe is one of the most popular shrines in the area, for Telli Baba is thought to be especially helpful to women who wish for a husband. The supplement leaves a strand of tinsel on the holy mans tomb, taking a second strand away with her. When the wish is granted she returns to give thanks and to leave the second strand of tinsel on the tomb.

Rumeli Kavagi: This neighborhood marks the last boat pier on the European side of the Bosphorus. On the rock of the lighthouse stands the Column of Pompeii which was part of an ancient shrine

Rumeli Kavagi, the last station on the European side, below a castle built by Murat IV in 1628. On a hill to the north are the ruins of the Byzantine Castle of Imroz Kalesi, the walls of which once reached right down to the sea and were continued by a mole, which could be linked by a chain with the mole and walls of Yoroz Kalesi on the Asiatic side. Visit the lighthouse in the neighborhood of Rumeli Kavagi. The Column of Pompeii, part of an ancient shrine, stands on the rock of the lighthouse.
In summer the boats usually go on (5minutes) to the resort of Altinkum (Golden Sand), with a restaurant on the plateau of an old fortification (view).
The tourist boats continue to the north end of the Bosporus (4.7km/3mi wide) and turn back when they reach the Black Sea. On both sides bare basalt cliffs rise almost vertically from the sea.

Evliya Celebi tells us that the quadrilateral castle at Rumeli Kavagi measured 300 metres across and that there were sixty houses for the soldiers of the garrison and a hundred cannon inside its walls. The castle facing it on the opposite shore at Anadolu Kavagi was also quadrilateral, measuring 240 metres across and with walls 20 m in height. It contained eighty houses to accommodate the garrison and one hundred cannon.
The French artillery engineer Francois Baron de Tott, who arrived in Turkey in 1755, supervised some additions to the castles on the Bosphorus, and in 1770 strengthened two of the castles on Canakkale Strait.
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HISTORY MEETS MYTHOLOGY RUMELI FENERI (Rumeli Lighthouse)
Today’s Rumeli Feneri (the Rumeli Lighthouse), situated at the point farthest north along the European side of the Bosphorus, was built in the 19th century, but there had been lighthouses in the same place during previous centuries. The Ali Macar Reis Atlas (16th century) gives the coordinates of a lighthouse on exactly the same spot. According to records from the 17th century, the top of Rumeli Feneri was reached by 110 stone steps, and eight “okka” (10264 grammes) of dolphin fat were burned there from dusk to dawn. In the 18th century, it was believed that if the oil lamp of the mystic Sary Saltyk went out, the lighthouse light would also be extinguished. Rumeli Feneri, a village on the promontory where the Bosphorus unwinds into the Black Sea, is a fishermen’s hamlet with a harbour hewn out of solid rock, dominated by the lighthouse.
This spot was known as Panium in ancient times. The great rocks offshore from Rumeli Feneri, known as the Kyanae or the Symplegadae, are celebrated in mythology.

When the Argonauts were seeking the Golden Fleece they let a wine-coloured (oinas) dove fly between these magic rocks that used to approach and strike one another with thunderous sound and then draw apart again. They followed the bird on its route, led by the goddess Athena. Drawing strength from the sound of the Thracian Orpheus’ lyre and chorusing songs that drowned out those of the sirens trying to lead them to their doom, they were able to reach the Black Sea. (According to myth, wine-coloured doves fed the infant Zeus in a Cretan Cave and offered him ambrosia, the elixir of immortality.) Certain mythographers claim that Triton, a sea-god rising from the depths of the Bosphorus, held the gigantic rocks apart as the Argo sailed through and that the Symplegadae never moved again. The boat Argo (Swift), bearing the name of its legendary builder, Argus, boasted mythological heroes as oarsmen, among them Hercules the Invincible. The Argo’s figurehead was a bough from Zeus’ Prophetic Oak. Antique sources and mythographers such as Apollonius, Apollodorus,

Valerius Placcus and Hygnius offer often contradicting information as far as the names and number of the Argonants are concerned.
With those who leave the Argo “en route” and yet others who join the expedition at various points, the list reaches impressive proportions. Among the most celebrated are Argus the Boat-builder, Asclepius the Healer, Atalanta the Huntress, Glaucus the Fisherman, Phineus the Soothsayer, Orpheus the Minstrel and Tiphys the Helmsman. The “Argonautica” of Apollonius of Rhodes (Apollonius Rhodius, 3rd century BC) and the “Bibliotheca” of Apollodorus (2nd century BC) relate the myth of the Golden Fleece in detail. Jason, the Captain of the Argonauts, was the grandson of Cretheus, the son of Aeson (King of Iolcus) and student of the Learned Centaur Chiron. Living in the Thessalian woodlands, Chiron was skilled in the art of medicine, and it is written that he gave the Prince of Iolcus his name, Jason (“Healer”).

The Golden Fleece, hidden in the Sacred Wood of Ares in the Kingdom of Colchis, somewhere along the shore of the Black Sea, had come from a flying ram sacrificed to Zeus. Born of Poseidon the Sea God and Theophane the Thracian, the ram had been sent by the goddess Hera and brought over by Hermes, Messenger of the Gods. Its pure gold fleece was guarded by Phrixus, son of Athamas (King of Boetia) and of Nephele (Goddess of the Clouds). With the assistance of Phineus the Soothsayer and Medea, High Priestess of the Temple of Hecate, the Argonauts reach Colchis and bring home the Golden Fleece. Classical mythology relates that Helle, Princess of Boeotia, fell into the deep waters of the gulf separating the bulks of Europe and Asia while riding the flying Golden Ram, thus giving the strait its name, the Hellespont (Helle’s Sea). Today it is known as the Dardanelles. The Temple of Apollo that stood on top of the rock near Rumeli Feneri is mentioned in the legends. It is also said that Apollo would transform himself into a dolphin and guide Tiphys the Helmsman.

In Byzantine times, a high column named the Pompeius Column was erected on this rock to prevent shipwrecks. The Ottomans gave the name Mavi Kayalar (the Blue Rocks), A?layan Kayalar (the Weeping Rocks) or Kanly Kayalar (the Bloody Rocks) to these great stones protruding from the sea. Later, they came to be known as Kocata? (the Great Stone) and Körta? (the Blind Stone).
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* Prof. Dr. Jak Deleon is a lecturer at Bo?aziçi University

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