THE KOÇ UNIVERSITY STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CENTER FOR LATE ANTIQUE AND BYZANTINE STUDIES (GABAM), was established with the support of Koç University and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in January 2015 at Koç University’s Rumelifeneri Campus. GABAM is the first scientific research center dedicated to Byzantine art history and archaeology to be established in Türkiye. In 2023 name of the center was changed to Koç University Sevgi Gönül Center for Byzantine Studies.

Why a Byzantine Studies Center?

The cultural remains of past civilizations is the common heritage of all humanity, and is regarded among the most important assets of societies in today’s world. The territory of modern Türkiye, which has been home to many civilizations since ancient ages, is among the World’s leading regions in terms of the variety and richness of cultural heritage. The Byzantine civilization, which has existed in this region starting from the end of Antiquity throughout the Middle Ages, is a significant part of Türkiye’s cultural heritage. Getting to know the Byzantine civilization, is important for understanding the Medieval Anatolia, and particularly for understanding the civilizations of the Seljuk, Turkish Principalities and Ottoman periods, which have shared the same territories and have interacted in intense cultural exchange with these civilizations. The Byzantine civilization has also contributed to the shaping of modern European culture, with its cultural traces reaching into present time.

The Center’s establishment in İstanbul is also of significance: the city has been the capital of the Byzantine Empire from the year 330 AD, when it was declared by the emperor Constantine the Great as the new capital of the Empire, to 1453, and has played a principal role in the formation and development of Byzantine culture.

Today, Türkiye is the country with the greatest accumulation of the remains of the Byzantine Empire, particularly in architectural form. Therefore, Türkiye and especially İstanbul are important for Byzantine studies, as they harbor great scientific potential in the field.

Purpose and Activities

GABAM is a scientific research center established to realize this important potential. The Center aims to engage in scientific research and activities related to the Late Antique and Byzantine cultural periods (circa the 3rd and 15th centuries AD) and make contributions of universal significance to the relevant scientific disciplines. In accordance with this aim, the Center:

  1. Prepares and executes scientific research projects on the history of Byzantine art and archaeology of national and international scale, and supports the projects it deems suitable;
  2. Engages in interdisciplinary research across disciplines such as history, archaeology, art history, anthropology, epigraphy, sociology and philosophy;
  3. Provides doctoral and post-doctoral research scholarships in the relevant disciplines within Koç University;
  4. Organizes scientific conferences, symposiums and workshops in accordance with its purpose;Publishes scientific literature in the relevant fields, and
  5. Publishes scientific literature in the relevant fields, and
  6. Contributes to the protection and promotion of cultural assets related to Byzantine civilization by developing projects for this purpose, as well as supporting relevant projects it deems suitable.