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July 2019
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Archive for July, 2019

Posted July 25, 2019
  Posted by in Uncategorized

Unmistakable Byzantine section

I became aware of this building from Trici Venola’s site at this web address. The post doesn’t seem to work now; probably an attempt to protect the location of a Byzantine chapel to which it made specific reference. However, in early July 2019, it referred to a pink-plastered building coming down and exposing what we can now see in the top photo. It’s in Günaydın Otopark  at 41.010353, 28.976887, on Alayköşkü Caddesi, a street in which Byzantine stonework keeps spilling out from behind crumbling modern stuff.

Some Byzantine arches on Alayköşkü Caddesi

One steps into the carpark, looks to the left and a wall of Byzantine revelation appears.

Composite wall of the site

It is a microcosm of Istanbul – layer on layer of stonework of steadily rising youth. the top is inevitably a nondescript dwelling. The bottom is a lovely slice of Constantinople and I got a bit overexcited when I saw it, attempting to map out the structure of a church from the exposed section. It has since been pointed out that it is a cistern. Of course it is. It’s too deep to be anything but.

Layers of Byzantine, Ottoman and Republican era brickwork

This site has undergone a good deal of use over its thousands of years of habitation. The recent excavation appears to have opened a cross-section of the cistern. The column lying in front of the standing wall hints at the size of the structure that once stood in the now empty space.

Other columns have probably been incorporated into nearby buildings

It looks as if much of the cistern was demolished a long time ago. The height of the arches above the column capitals is remarkable. All three of the column capitals exposed in this section are distinctly different. The standing column to the left is longer than the other two. Presumably, they were reused from pre-existing buildings.

Unusual height of arch above colonade

There is some fine stonework in this structure. That central arch shows some real delicacy, despite a bit of rough patching at some stage in its history. This cistern was close to the Church of St Mary Chalcoprateia, perhaps close enough to be part of the complex of buildings once associated with this prestigious church. 


It will be interesting to see what happens to this site in the next few years.


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