Interpretation and presentation of Late Antique and Byzantine Ephesus with particular emphasis on its religious heritage

Özen, Bilge Sena
Cultural heritage conservation can be best accomplished through its adoption by a broad audience. The process of understanding, appreciating, and respecting cultural heritage can be achieved by effective heritage interpretation and presentation. Interpretation should focus on and involve all heritage resources, without any exclusion. Otherwise, the risk of losing heritage sites’ broader character emerges, especially if those somehow neglected or ‘excluded’ heritage resources are physically preserved and visible. Ephesus, in particular Byzantine Ephesus, is such an example. The Late Antique and Byzantine monuments, specifically the religious ones, are relatively well-preserved. Some indeed are accessible and visible. However, any comprehension of the site’s overall Byzantine composition is missing. This thesis addresses this challenge by focusing on the physical and intellectual setting of the Late Antique and Byzantine cultural heritage and its monuments, and offers proposals for better interpretation and presentation. Located in Western Asia Minor, Ephesus was settled from at least the 7th millennium BCE and continued so up until the 15th century CE. It became one of the most important centers of Early Christianity from the historical, political, socio-cultural, architectural, and religious angles. The religious aspects played a distinctive role in the formation of these features. Moreover, some religious structures (the Basilica of St. John, the Cemetery of the Seven Sleepers, the Church of the Virgin Mary, the ‘Tomb of St. Luke’, the Grotto of St. Paul, and the Church in the Bay of Pamucak) are Late Antique and Byzantine pilgrimage sites. Some of these pilgrimage centers have maintained their identity better, some have lost it, and a few new ones have emerged over time. For example, the House of the Virgin Mary gained this character only in the last century. The continuous religious activities, which make Ephesus a ‘living religious heritage’ site, with visitors coming to the site with diverse motivations (cultural and religious tourism and pilgrimage) indicate the broad spectrum of the spiritual character of Ephesus. This study concentrates on Late Antique and Byzantine Ephesus, its religious monuments, and ‘living religious heritage’ sites, enhancing their visibility within the broader context of Ephesus. The thesis is structured around three stages: problem definition, understanding the potential, and evaluating possible solutions. In the first two sections, a conceptual framework concerning the terms of interpretation and presentation and the diverse approaches available for Ephesus is presented, and the content of the Late Antique and Byzantine archaeological site of Ephesus is studied and evaluated. Thus, the values and opportunities of the Late Antique and Byzantine heritage and the threats to its interpretation and presentation are analyzed. Following this assessment, the thesis sets out proposals for a better site interpretation and presentation for Late Antique and Byzantine Ephesus and so for promoting public awareness of its religious significance both in the past and present. For this purpose, comprehensive themes based on the characteristics of Ephesus (thematic cultural routes interpreting Byzantine Ephesus that embrace both the past pilgrimage sites and ‘living religious heritage’ sites) are hierarchically planned and promoted.


Interpretation and presentation of the Byzantine cultural heritage at Sultanahmet in İstanbul
Özcan, Ceren; Serin, Ufuk; Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Department of Architecture (2019)
This research is based upon the premise that effective conservation of cultural heritage can only be achieved through promoting awareness and understanding of history and past cultures. As a result of either the selection or exclusion of particular periods or areas of the past in the conservation of cultural heritage in Turkey (and elsewhere), Late Antique and Byzantine periods have long been neglected. The lack of information and awareness of contemporary society regarding Byzantine history and culture and...
Sustainability of historic rural settlements based on participatory conservation approach: Kemer Village in Turkey
Ekici, Simay Cansu; Özçakır, Özgün; Bilgin Altınöz, Ayşe Güliz (2022-04-01)
Purpose This paper aims to address the issue of the conservation and management of rural cultural heritage, with the aim being to gain an understanding of current problems and needs through a participatory approach, in recognition of the uniqueness of the relationship between nature, humankind and the built environment as an area of study. To this end, a comprehensive case study - Kemer Village in Turkey - focusing on the social sustainability and participatory approaches for the sustainable development of ...
Akça, İlknur; Özçakır, Özgün; Bilgin Altınöz, Ayşe Güliz; Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Department of Architecture (2022-12-16)
The societies sustain their identities through heritage places, and heritage places have diverse values. When the values are protected, the heritage place is preserved. In that regard, the things that need to be conserved in heritage places are values. Therefore, conserving cultural heritage is a value-based process. However, most of the historical heritage places in the city centers have become significant in recent years exclusively because of their central location and high land value. Especially municip...
Improvement of METU-Research Laboratory for the Conservation of Historic Monuments (MONUMENTSLAB)
Saltık, Emine Nevin(2011-5-31)
Importance of conservation scientists and research in the care and conservation of cultural heritage has been better understood in last decades. Inadequate diagnosis, problems arising from incompatible repair materials have induced irreplaceable damage to historic structures. Adverse effects of the empirical conservation treatments or conservation treatments that were not well studied in terms of compatibility and durability have become noticeable on the monuments. There are collaborated efforts throughout ...
Authenticity as a Sustainable Value of Holistic Conservation: The Case of Turkey's World Heritage Sites
Karakul Türk, Özlem (2016-01-01)
The discussions on 'authenticity' have always been central in conservation studies. Nowadays, in recent years, the discussions also continued within the debates on the conservation of intangible cultural heritage. This paper brings a new standpoint about 'authenticity', considering it as a value for conservation. Its subjective nature need to be minimized by the clear definition of its constitutive aspects including both tangible and intangible features. To make it more concretized, it needs to understand t...
Citation Formats
B. S. Özen, “Interpretation and presentation of Late Antique and Byzantine Ephesus with particular emphasis on its religious heritage,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2023.