Brochure by Polat Utku Kayrak
Brochure by Alena Ho
Brochure by Doğa Ortaköylü
Brochure by Nil Hocaoğlu
Brochure by David Bergstein
Brochure by Özlem Bilgiç
A Trip to the Cistern Underneath Kadir Has University
The final field trip of our Byzantine art class took us to the wondrous backstreets of traditional Istanbul neighborhoods around the Golden Horn. We arrived at the Kadir Has University which houses a historic cistern in its undergrounds. The underground water system echoes Byzantine cisterns made of brick and mortar and often times, containing sand and shells. The structure consists of a series of degrading terraces and barrel vaults. Barrel vaults are an extension of a simple arch, creating a semi-cylindrical ceiling (Kleiner 161). Historically, barrel vaults in the Roman Empire were built using traditional ashlar masonry. Moreover, a growing vault is created by the intersection at right angles of two barrel vaults (Dr. Alessandra Ricci). The best examples of growing vaults can be found in the ruins of the Great Palace located in the Hippodrome, the city center of historic Constantinople.
Although this architectural structure is used to store water and is thus, waterproof, mold and algae is apparent on the walls of the cistern. This is due to poor ventilation that has also caused the structure to slowly decay. Thus, water vents and air circulation are essential to cisterns and their efficiency in storing and providing water to the city. More importantly, these aqueducts were connected to large water revenues, which illuminates the location of this cistern adjacent to ports along the Golden Horn. These harbors were crucial to trade, the movements of goods and ideas, to and from Constantinople. Constantinople was one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean with a geopolitical advantage due to its location between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara as well as the Golden Horn and Bosphorus River (Branning 4). In this way, it was a thriving metropolis and a powerful and influential actor that was not isolated from the greater Empire and beyond.
The beneficial location of this cistern also lead to its use as a tobacco factory constructed above the underground waterway in the 19th century. The tobacco factory was a function of European industrialization that occurred at the time. This factory was operated by women because of their ability to work with the fragile tobacco leaves. As an industrial entity with a large number of employees and a product that generates profit, this industrial unit had great implications for the surrounding neighborhoods. It produced a number of facilities such as businesses, a hospital, and schools and extended the trade network that was already in place.
Upon entering the cistern, I was amazed with the preservation of the structures, especially the rows of parallel columns still containing the decorative capitals. I was intrigued by the multiple layers of architecture and the amount of information they had when properly excavated by archeologists. Above the cistern, a museum sits which still includes the iron beams from the tobacco factory. This incorporation of the various uses of the space over the centuries was very well executed and interesting from an art historical perspective. I genuinely enjoyed walking into the depths of a cistern reminiscent of Byzantine times and around the museum, looking at the various artifacts.
Branning, Katherine. “Trade.” The Seljuk Han in Anatolia. 21 August 2001. Available Form http://www.turkishhan.org/trade.htm.
Dr. Alessandra Ricci. “Cistern Underneath Kadir Has University.” Istanbul. 19 December 2009.
Kleiner, Fred S. et al. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective. 11th Edition. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing, 2008.
Although I was not able to join the second field trip due to the health reasons, I didn’t want to miss the chance to understand and examine the Byzantine art after the 8th century, basically iconoclasm. My friend Melis helped me to see those areas next week after the actual field trip date as I have fully recovered from the illness. The first place that we explored was Gul Camii (Hagia Theodosia) in Ayakapi in Istanbul. It was an ex-church converted into a mosque in 1499 after the capture of Istanbul by Ottomans. During the iconoclasm era, Theodosia opposed the removal of Christ icon on the gate of Great Palace so it is believed that church is also named as “Hagia Theodosia”. One of the most interesting details of the mosque was that, its plan was designed as the shape of a Greek Cross. The dome of the mosque was standing on the independent columns and in the east side of the building I encountered three apses, where the one on the center was a little big than the others. The niches in the apses show that those apses are reconstructed in the 13th and the 14th centuries.
After leaving Gul Camii, we headed to The Church of St. Mary of the Mongols in Fatih region again but in the neighborhood of Fener. The plan of the church is also very interesting that its central dome is surrounded by the tower. It has four apses on the each side of the church. This plan is called as tatraconch.
On the eastern side we can also see mosaics of an Icon representing the Theotokos. Again On the eastern side of the wall we can see a very huge representation of the famous “Last Judgment”. In this side of the church we can see other mosaics and Icons.
There are also several rumors about the underground tunnel of the church. It is said that this tunnel is reaching Hagia Sophia but there is no evidence about that.
The lobby is of the church called as ‘Narthex’ consists of three bays. Unfortunately the southern side of the church was demolished and does not contain the original structure of the church. If we examine the dome of St.Mary of the Mongols we can see that it is made upon a cross.
To sum up, those places that I have visited has preserved their originality and historical atmosphere much more than Hagia Sophia or the monuments of the Hippodrome. These places like St.Sophia or the base stone of Egyptian Stone have much more touristic purposes in Istanbul but thus those new places that were visited in the second field trip do not drive touristic purposes so they continue keeping their historical taste and atmosphere.
The city of Constantinople ,Michael Maclagan
Byzantine Constantinople, Nevra Necipoğlu
Constantinople from Byzantium to Istanbul,David Talbot Rice
Second Field Trip:
İn our second field trip our starting point is Kadir Has University which was old tobacco company.Mostly women employers and Ottoman was a major producer of tobacco those times.This was a big industrial cooperation.The original part is made of steel which is seen as a major piece of modern industry. Before ,Habsburg, France were using this building and the desing of it by French architects.The place was one of the heels of Golden Horn by creating a flat platform.This company was important because there was a social dimension about this. Especiall, Cibali neighbourhood survived by this tobacco company. Last 20 years all things started to change and a piece of Industrial archeology starts bringing people to this neighbourhood. In other words, transformation started! Social justification that is seen as a strong effect on the life of this city. There are series of harbours,shipyards(fast ship builders, docking place,) and Ottoman empire realized about this and started to make an action…Tahtakale and Galeta areas became important. Population changed effectively.Moreover in this trip we moved on to the different buildings. Gul Camii, Kanli Kilise, Fethiye Camii are one of them. Gul camii The building is located in Istanbul, in the district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Ayakapi (Gate of the Saint), along Vakif Mektebi Sokak. It lies at the end of the valley which divides the fourth and the fifth hills of Constantinople, and from its imposing position it overlooks the Golden Horn.It is one of the most important religious Byzantine buildings of Constantinople still extant, but its dedication and the date of its construction, which for long time appeared certain, are now disputed by scholars. It is either identified with the church belonging to the nunnery of Saint Theodosia. The building, since Stephan Gerlach visited it in the late 15th century, has always been identified with the church of Hagia.The building lies on a high basement, which was used also during the Byzantine period only for secular purposes. The masonary of the basement has been built adopting the technique of the “recessed brick”, typical of the Byzantine architecture of the middle period. In this technique, alternate courses of bricks are mounted behind the line of the wall, and are plunged in mortar bed.The building has a cross-in-square plan, which is oriented northwest – southeast. It is 26 meters long and 20 meters wide, and is surmounted by five domes, one above the central nave and four smaller placed on the four corners.The interior of the building was plastered and decorated in the 18th century. One enters through a wooden porch which leads to a low narthex surmounted by a barrel vault. From there a triple arcade leads into the tall nave, which is flanked by galleries forming the side arms of the cross. Carved inside each of the two eastern dome piers there is a small chamber. The south east chamber contains the alleged tomb of the Ottoman Saint Gül Baba.
The other intersting monument for me is Theotokos Panagia Mougliotissa (full name in Greek: Θεοτòκος Παναγιώτισσα (pr. Theotokos Panaghiótissa, lit. “All-Holy Theotokos”) or Παναγία Μουχλιώτισσα (pr. Panaghia Muchliótissa); Turkish name: Kanlı Kilise (meaning:Bloody Church), is an Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul. It is the only Byzantine church of Constantinople that has never been converted to a mosque, always remaining open to the Greek Orthodox Church .The church, which usually is not open to the public and lies behind a high wall, is placed in the district of Fatih, in the neighborhood of Fener. It lies on Tevkii Cafer Mektebi Sokak, at the summit of a slope overlooking the Golden Horn, and near to the imposing building of the Phanar Greek Orthodox College. The complex lies behind a high wall, and it is usually not open to the public. Although it has always remained in Greek hands, the building has been modified much more heavily than those which have been converted into mosques. The dome rests on a cross formed by four half-domes. The narthex has three bays, whose central bay is covered by a barrel vault. On the south side, the church has been demolished and rebuilt, and the southern half dome and the southern bay of the narthex have been removed and replaced by three aisles. Under the church are visible excavations, and an underground passage which is said to reach Hagia Sophia (although the two buildings are several kilometers apart). Despite its historical importance, the church has never been studied from an architectural point of view.
Lastly, from my point of view Istanbul is full of monuments, buildings… etc that can harly be visited and I think there are many hidden ones that will be found in the future. I may see or not…