Cahide Tamer Archive

Cahide Tamer Historic Buildings Restoration Projects Collection includes a variety of archival materials such as documents, correspondence, photographs, drawings and plans of restoration projects that Cahide Tamer (1915-2005) has involved in her career between 1943-1974, who is also one of the women high architects and restorators in Early Turkish Republic Period.

Originally classified in structure-based albums and folders, this extensive archive consists of more than 150 historic buildings of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture in Marmara Region mainly in Istanbul.

Including iconic structures of Istanbul as Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Chora, Istanbul Archaeological Museum, Tekfur Palace, Marmara Sea and Land Walls, Rumeli Fortress, Yedikule Fortress, Fountain of Ahmet III, Güzelce Aqueduct, the Spice Bazaar, Yenikapı Mevlevi Lodge, Amcazâde Hüseyin Paşa Mansion, the collection gathers different structure types like mosque, church, tomb, palace, museum, library, bazaar, mevlevi lodge, madrassa, fountain, aqueduct, fortification and fortress.

The collection is a valuable source for the researchers who are focusing on the historic building restoration works and applications in Turkey during 1940-1980.

The collection which is transferred to Suna Kıraç Library by the end of 2018, is donated to the library archive by the architect’s daughter Ayşe Nur Ökten with the initiative of Koç University Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies (GABAM, Barış Altan). The collection process including classification, identification (GABAM, Ali Öz) and translation of the archival materials is supported by GABAM between the years 2019 and 2020.

Detail Information

Byzantine Musical Instruments

In cooperation with the Athens-based Friends of Music Society, GABAM has launched a new research project focusing on Byzantine musical instruments in April 2018 scheduled to conclude within a two years. The main aim of the project is to create an elaborate documentation of Byzantine musical instruments through the design and production of a web portal which will include a fully integrated database for researchers, a digital exhibition for the wider public and educational applications.

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Byzantine City Walls of Istanbul

The Byzantine era city walls surrounding the historical peninsula are the largest architectural structure of present-day Istanbul and make up a crucial part of the city’s cultural heritage. The fortifications, which are listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites were first built in the first quarter of the fifth century, and through additions and repairs undertaken at various periods, they defended the capital of the Byzantine Empire for about 11 centuries. The walls, which are almost 24 kilometers long, are among the most important surviving examples of military architecture. Today, a large part of these walls remain standing, along with 250 towers and 52 gates. In 2017, GABAM put together a 25-person international team featuring archaeologists, art historians, historians, epigraphy experts, photographers, and experts from various fields to document this important heritage and create a digital resource of relevant visual and text-based data. Every section of the walls, towers and gates were photographed and documented in their current conditions, identified, evaluated, and alongside 40 hours of drone footage, an inventory of about 3,500 digital images was created. The inscriptions on walls and the spolia materials were studied by experts and compiled in a database. Experts have also combed through Byzantine sources and Ottoman archives to collect information concerning the wall. Leading scholars in the field prepared articles dealing with various aspects of the project. All compiled visual and written materials were made available as electronic media on an interactive platform. The Istanbul Walls Project is a living undertaking, and it will always be possible to update it with new data.

Being a Byzantinist in Turkey: An Oral History

Byzantine studies began as an academic discipline in Turkish universities in the middle of the twentieth century and have flourished in the new millennium. This project aims to create an institutional memory that will shed light on the history of Byzantine studies in Turkey. Oral history interviews are conducted with scholars who have witnessed the beginning of Byzantine academic studies in Turkey, contributed to its advancement and given direction its development. These oral history interview videos and their Turkish and English transcriptions will be made available to researchers on the GABAM website. In addition, a short video collage introducing the project will be produced with excerpts from selected interviews. To date, 25 video interviews with Turkish scholars have been completed and are currently in post-production. This will be a valuable collection on the historiography of Byzantine studies in Turkey.

Byzantine Monuments Photographs Archive Project

The project aims to create a digital photographic archive of Byzantine monuments in Istanbul. The core of the archive is made up of monuments found across the Historic Peninsula. You can reach the details of the archive from the link below.

Detail Information

Documenting the Rotunda and Myraleion Church in Istanbul

The Rotunda, Istanbul’s oldest architectural structure, dates to the Roman period. The Rotunda is adjacent to the Myraleion monastery (today Bodrum mosque) and to the palace complex of emperor Romanos I. Lekapenos. Architecturally it resembles the Pantheon in Rome. Following the destruction of its dome, in the Byzantine period the structure was covered with vaults carried by a series of columns and turned into a cistern providing water to the palace. The interior spaces of the Rotunda served as a bazaar, and until it was vacated for restoration in early 2018, the Rotunda itself was not architecturally documented. As soon as the Rotunda was vacated, GABAM acted to survey both the Rotunda and the Myraleion church, and conducted detailed photography of the Rotunda. The documentation carried out for the first time in the Rotunda will be used in a future publication.

Documenting the Damatrys Palace

The summer palace of the Byzantine emperors on the Asian side of Constantinople, which has been under excavation by Istanbul Archaeological Museums since 2012, was documented in 2016. The site, encompassing an area of 5500 m2 is one of the greatest archaeological sites excavated in Istanbul. GABAM supported the complete architectural documentation of the palace. Remains were laser-scanned during 32 days of work at the site, and drawings completed after 67 days of work in the office. The palace excavations will be published jointly in a volume by GABAM and Istanbul Archaeological Museums, probably in 2021.