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August 2019
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Unmistakable section through a Byzantine church

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 – a cross in square church of late Byzantine provenance. There are at least four arches visible in this section. Presumably, this was an outer part of the church, perhaps similar to the narthex in the cathedral at Enez.

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 in which a narthex opens into the former nave of the church. The column lying in front of the standing wall hints at the structure that once stood in the now empty space.

Other columns have probably been incorporated into nearby buildings

It looks as if the main part of the church was demolished at a much earlier time. The height of the arches above the column capitals is remarkable. It is interesting that 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 a pre-existing building.

Unusual height of arch above collonade

There is some fine stonework in this church. That central arch shows some real delicacy, despite a bit of rough patching at some stage in its history. It is hard to find any reference in the literature to a church in this location. It is 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. The pit in the south-west of the excavated area hints at the presence of an ayazma.

Possible ayazma at lower right

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

 

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