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Instituting Art in Istanbul

by Murtaza Vali


Santral Istanbul site. Courtesy Istanbul Bilgi University.

Istanbul is an architectural palimpsest: spectacular traces from the past endure in the contemporary urban fabric. Over 16 centuries it served as capital for the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, successively. When it changed hands in the 15th century, Sultan Mehmet II did not indiscriminately raze Byzantine monuments; rather, recognizing their tremendous cultural value, he adapted them to serve his new empire. The Haghia Sophia, Istanbul's most enduring monument, has been both Byzantine church and Ottoman mosque. Under the Turkish Republic it was…

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