Interpretation and presentation of the Byzantine heritage at „Herakleia ad Latmos‟

Hetemoğlu, Merve Aslı
This research is based upon the fact that only an affective awareness and understanding of the past can help promote awareness of the need to adopt and protect cultural heritage. The Byzantine cultural heritage in Turkey has long been neglected for a number of ideological and pragmatic factors. Such factors have also affected the „archaeological objectivity‟ in general and led to the „selection‟ or „exclusion‟ of specific periods of the past, including Byzantium, in Turkey and elsewhere. Furthermore, regarding archaeological sites in particular, the Late Antique and Byzantine remains, especially those in a ruinous and fragile state of preservation and thus lacking immediate visual attraction, have not always been recognized (and promoted) as important as the visually more attractive monuments of Classical Antiquity. Given these circumstances, Byzantium needs to be reinterpreted and represented as part of a common cultural heritage for the positive reception of its values and sustainable protection of the authenticity and integrity of its heritage. This study thus aims to investigate issues relating to the interpretation and presentation of Byzantine cultural heritage, with particular emphasis on the archaeological sites. In this context, the ancient city of Herakleia ad Latmos (modern Kapkırı) in Caria, including impressive monastic buildings, some of which sited in a challenging topographical setting and not easily accessible, of the Middle to Late Byzantine periods, located within a „Natural Park‟ area on Lake Bafa, is selected as a case study. These relatively well preserved Byzantine monastic sites, easily distinguishable from the ancient city of Herakleia in terms of their topographical position and historical layering, are significant in terms of reflecting not only the general characteristics of Byzantine monasteries, but also the architectural and spatial features and typical building techniques and materials of the Middle and Late Byzantine Ages. They thus deserve to receive a greater recognition which can only be achieved with appropriate interpretation, presentation and visitor orientation strategies. This research explores the values and opportunities offered by the Byzantine cultural heritage at Herakleia ad Latmos, as well as the problems of and threats to its conservation, and offers proposals for site interpretation and presentation for the better understanding and protection of this heritage in its natural and topographical setting.
Citation Formats
M. A. Hetemoğlu, “Interpretation and presentation of the Byzantine heritage at „Herakleia ad Latmos‟,” M.Arch. - Master of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, 2019.