An Off-the-Beaten Tour with Serif Yenen: Istanbul, Roofs-Terraces & Underground
While the Roman capital Rome was shrinking to a cow town, Constantinople was on the rise with a population of half a million. After seeing resplendent metropolis with its harbor full of vessels, with its markets filled with silks, spices, furs, precious stones, perfumed woods, carved ivory, gold and silver and enameled jewelry, the Crusader Villehardouin was in shock and said: “One could not believe there was so rich a city in all the world.”
Byzantium was a buffer shielding medieval Europe from the empire-building Persians, Arabs, and Turks. It was a bridge between East and West. Byzantines were law makers, developed religious, political, and social practices vibrant to this day. They were masters of mosaics. They pictured Christ enthroned as the Pantocrator, Creator of Universe in the domes of many of their churches.
While Charlemagne, King of the Franks, could barely write his name, many Byzantine emperors were scholars. While men in the West for centuries tested guilt or innocence by subjecting the accused to severe pain, Justinian set scholars to compiling his famous Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law), the foundation of Roman Law in continental Europe today. Via the Code Napoléon, Byzantine precepts were transmitted to Latin America, Québec Province, and Louisiana, where they still hold sway.
Today, as we go back and investigate more, and in the course of recent construction projects, new discoveries are being made constantly, and long-lost traces of previous occupants of the city are being uncovered. History is being re-written.
This tour will surprise even long-time residents of Istanbul with many unknown and unexpected ruins beneath the city. In the company of Serif Yenen, you can experience the feeling of discovery and privilege of seeing many artefacts, which millions of people living here ‘above ground’ are unfamiliar with.
The program will include visits to several cisterns, churches, palace ruins, some sub-structures, terraces with beautiful view, and the places where James Bond passed through. Some of the places visited will be the places, which are normally not open to the public.
Come join us to discover what lies beneath and what is above in the Old City of Istanbul within the walls.