Tag Archives: art
Byzantine Istanbul Part IV: The Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos
30 mile per hour winds shut down the Golden Horn ferry, so we ended up walking. This might have otherwise been a pleasant walk but for the evil weather, and I know that Michelle particularly didn’t enjoy having to constantly hold her skirt against the wind. Then I compounded the trouble by taking a quick detour through some of the least-welcoming neighborhoods of the city.
Byzantine Istanbul Part III: The Bukoleon Palace
The Roman Emperor Theodosius II was a prolific builder, and his fingerprints are all over modern Istanbul. This in spite of the fact that he was emperor some 1600 years ago. If you are a Byzantine buff, you probably know all about Theodosius II, who reigned when the empire was split between eastern and western […]
By the Beard of Mohammed! Inside Topkapı Palace
Topkapı is the site of many religious relics, of which maybe one or two are even plausible fakes. They have the staff of Moses, the sword of David, and my personal favorite, the saucepan of Abraham. (Four thousand years old! Have they ever seen artifacts that are four thousand years old? I have. They look like potsherds. Largely because they’re potsherds.)
Byzantine Istanbul Part II: The Great Palace Mosaics
The museum itself is small, including floor mosaics of about 250 square meters, or about 2700 square feet. But archaeologists estimate that only one-seventh to one-eighth of the floor remains. To put that into perspective, we are talking about nearly half an acre of mosaic flooring. That’s something like an area from the 50 yard line to the goal line on an American football field. Archaeologists have suggested that it may have taken 80 million tesserae, the small, square tiles of limestone, glass, and ceramic that make up the mosaics.