Interpretation and presentation of the Byzantine cultural heritage at Sultanahmet in İstanbul

Download
2019
Özcan, Ceren
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 its heritage leads to a negative response to this heritage and its neglect. Under these circumstances, the cultural heritage of the Late Antique and Byzantine periods needs to be reinterpreted and presented as part of the common cultural heritage, so as to be embraced and adopted by larger sections of society and thus achieve sustainable conservation. This study accordingly investigates the issues related to the interpretation and presentation of the Byzantine cultural heritage through the selected case-study of Sultanahmet in Istanbul, with particular emphasis on the Byzantine (mainly architectural) heritage built between the 4th and 7th centuries. Sultanahmet was the administrative (and ceremonial) center of Constantinople/Istanbul and therefore of the Byzantine Empire for more than ten centuries. This area, with its historical layering and monumental examples of the Late Antique and Byzantine architecture still is one of the most significant areas of modern Istanbul. The well-preserved Byzantine imperial structures are important witnesses with their architectural and spatial features, their construction techniques and materials to the Late Antique and Early Christian periods. However, because of the lack of effective interpretation and presentation approaches aimed at fostering awareness for the Byzantine cultural heritage in the Sultanahmet area, only the well-preserved monumental buildings now transformed into museums, such as Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern, are known by the users and visitors of the area. Also, the Byzantine cultural heritage has not been the subject of a thorough consideration in the plans aiming at the conservation of this area and largely highlighting the heritage of the Ottoman and Turkish periods, at least until the recent past. In addition to these points, tourism and the income to be obtained from this sector have usually been the major and deciding factor in decision-making processes. Consequently, some of the monumental buildings of the administrative and ceremonial center of Byzantine Constantinople now remain partly ‘invisible’ and inaccessible, and cannot therefore be understood and appreciated by the general public. This type of physical/visual and interpretive challenges inevitably lead to an interruption both in physical and intellectual terms within the ‘historical layering’ of the Sultanahmet area from the Roman through to the Ottoman periods (and up to this day) as a whole. In this context, this study argues that public awareness and adoption of the Byzantine cultural heritage can be promoted through reliable and effective interpretation and presentation strategies, on the way to stimulating a more sustainable conservation of this heritage in the long-term. With this premise,, his research investigates the values and opportunities offered by the Byzantine cultural heritage in Sultanahmet and the threats to its conservation, and offers proposals for a more effective scheme of interpretation and presentation (by which to achieve a better understanding and conservation) of this heritage, as part of the historical continuity of the area, within its contemporary urban environment.

Suggestions

Assessing the change in Ayvalık as heritage place reasons, motivations, results
Tuğrul, Selen; Keskinok, Hüseyin Çağatay; Bilgin Altınöz, Ayşe Güliz; Department of Urban Policy Planning and Local Governments (2017)
Cultural heritage which is a set of values inherited from past, is a dynamic concept that progress, develop and adapted in time. Cultural heritage that is constituted with the dynamic relationship between place and people, needs to be enhanced holistically to conserve whole intrinsic value within heritage places. Recently, in parallel with the global trend, heritage places have started to generate more attraction in Turkey. Particularly, historic buildings and quarters in cities have been gradually gaining ...
In-between preservation and economics: establishing common ground between socio-cultural and economic values for the sustainability of urban heritage places in Turkey
Özçakır, Özgün; Bilgin Altınöz, Ayşe Güliz; Mignosa, Anna; Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Department of Architecture (2018)
Conservation of cultural heritage is a ‘value’ based practice. The scholars in the fields of conservation and cultural economics have been aware of the co-existence of different values including economic as well as socio-cultural ones. Both the preservationist and economist approaches emphasize the subjectivity of ‘values’ that change according to time, context and the interests of different agents when intervention decisions about heritage places are at stake. The heritage places located at the center of c...
Virtual presentation of cultural heritage case study: Ani /
JodeirieRajaie, Maryam; Gökce, Fuat; Restoration in Department of Architecture (2014)
The field of preservation of historic and cultural heritage has been a multidisciplinary science from the beginning. And the demand for any pioneer technique that may ease the conservation task still lives. In the past four decades computational design has started grow with the aim of conservation and the evolution of its techniques have been helping the specialists in nearly every step of decisions they make, notably in archeology. The digital data derived from a physical site, whether it is an object, mon...
Rethinking cultural heritage conservation: evaluation of the treatments of former prison sites /
Acar, Melih Emre; Bilgin Altınöz, Ayşe Güliz; Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Department of Architecture (2017)
The prevailing mindset of heritage practice which was originated in the early 20th century, is so associated with the ‘thing’ that causes incompetence in responding to cultural and social demands of heritage conservation. Therefore, this thesis examines the treatments of former prison sites with the aim of revealing contemporary agents of cultural heritage conservation that are utilized to sustain and, indeed, to nurture intangible features of heritages. The discourse that is constructed around the abandone...
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 ...
Citation Formats
C. Özcan, “Interpretation and presentation of the Byzantine cultural heritage at Sultanahmet in İstanbul,” Thesis (M.Arch.) -- Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences. Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Architecture., Middle East Technical University, 2019.