"GREAT PALACE OF CONSTANTINOPLE" Top 5 Page for this destination Great Palace Mosaic Museum Tip by neodue

Great Palace Mosaic Museum, Istanbul: 13 reviews and 31 photos

Do not dream to see a great byzantium palace in Istanbul now.It s desapeared now.Just you can see some remains.(Great Palace ground mosaics) or Some Parth of the Palace

In ancient times, the palatial hill from the Sea of Marmara to the Hippodrome. The palatial district extended from Hagia Sophia and the Hippodrome to the cost line, where the sea wall acted as a mighty boundary of great military value. Its basic layout, first determined by Emperor Constantine, soon housed a collection of state buildings with courtvards, throne rooms and auidience rooms, churces and chappels gardens and fountains, libraries, assembly buildings, thermal baths and stadiums. Throughout the centuries palaces decayed due to fires, earthquakes, and other reasons. Finally, whatever remained was covered by earth.

British scientists from the University of St. Andrews in Edinburg made extensive excavations at the Arasta Bazaar in Sultan Ahmet square (1935-38) and (1951-54). This partly opened up one of the south-western buildings, so called ?Great Palace?. The Great Palace had got a big courtyart with perisyle (1872 m²). It was decorated with mosaics. It was at this point that the Austrian Academy of Sciences undertook to rescue, (Supervised by Prof. Dr. Werner Jobst) study and preserve the famous palace mosaic and to carry out additional archaeological examinations (1983-1997) within the scape of a cooperation project with the Directorate General of Monuments and Museums in Turkey.

When the peristylle of The Great Palace was redone under Justinian I. (527-565), The Great Palace mosaic was the largest and the most beautiful landscape in antiqity (the 6th century A.D). No where in the world of late antiquity can we find a building with a tessellated pavement of similar size and perfection of workmanship. It was probably made by an imperial workshop that surely has employed the best craftmen gathered from all corners of the Empire, guided by a master artist. It is this circumstance which makes it difficult to compare the piece with creations, and thus to date it by means of typological and stilistic methods.Composing the tessalated pavement, with its many coloured lime, terracotta and glass cubes of 5 mm. One square metre of floor space consumed about 40.000 cubes, which makes for 80.000.000 tesserae for entire area. The mosaic was brought to light only in fragments and sections, which together make-up about one seventieth of the original expance, but these suffice to convice us that it is one of the most magnificent compositions known to us from antique mosaic art.

In The Great Palace Mosaic the main field of the composition was 6 metres in width. On either side of its edge it is accompained by an exquisitely arranged border of folliage each 1.50 metres wide, sufficient to cover the entire hall 9 metres deep with a tesselleted pavement. The frame is dominated by a highly naturalistic acantus scroll. Acantus are filled with masked heads, exotic fruit and animals.The frame which symbolize a garden of eden. After frame when looking at the scenes we find a movement from left to right in the notheastern hall. The pictures describe open-air scenes, the life of herdsmen the labour of peasants and the prowess of huntsmen. Scenes of children playing with Wilde beast and grazing animals alternate with mythological motifs animal fables and fabulous creatures from exotic countries, animals, hunting, games, bucolic scenes nature and myths are the leading themes in the succession of pictures. On surviving parts of the mosaic we still count 90 different themes populated by some 150 human and animal figures.

When Constantine I founded the city of Constantinople in 330, he planned out a palace for himself and his heirs. The palace was located between the Hippodrome and Hagia Sophia. It was rebuilt and expanded several times, especially under the emperors Justinian I and Theophilos.

Until the late 12th century, the Great Palace served as the primary administrative and ceremonial centre of the city, although from the early Comnenian era the palace of Blachernae was favoured as an imperial residence. During the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, the Palace was plundered by the soldiers of Boniface of Montferrat. Although the subsequent Latin emperors continued to use the Palace complex, they lacked money for its maintenance. The last Latin emperor, Baldwin II, went as far as removing the lead roofs of the Palace and selling them.

Consequently, when the city was retaken by the forces of Michael VIII Palaeologus in 1261, the Great Palace was in a bad state. The Palaeologus emperors largely abandoned it, ruling from Blachernae, so that when Mehmed II entered the city in 1453, he discovered it to be ruined and abandoned. As he wandered its empty halls and pavilions, he allegedly whispered a quote from the Persian poet, Ferdowsi:

"The spider spins his web in the Palace of the Caesars,
An owl hoots in the towers of Afrasiyab."

Much of the palace was demolished in the general rebuilding of Constantinople in the early years of the Ottoman era. However, an early 20th century fire uncovered a section of the Great Palace. On this site prison cells, many large rooms, and possibly tombs were found. Contemporary excavations are continuing in Istanbul on the Great Palace. So far, less than one quarter of the total area covered by the palace has been excavated. Most of the unearthed mosaics have been housed in the Istanbul Mosaic Museum.

Address: Torun Sok.
Directions: Buyuk Saray Mozaikleri Muzesi

Torun Sok. Arasta Çarşısı Sultanahmet - İSTANBUL

Phone: +90 212 518 1205
Website: http://www.ayasofyamuzesi.gov.tr/en

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Apr 15, 2008
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