Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bisanzio, Costantinopoli, Istanbul, edited by Jaca Book

31 October 2008
ANSA - English Corporate News Service

Bisanzio, Costantinopoli, Istanbul, a book curated by Tania Velmans and edited by Jaca Book was presented today in Rome at an event sponsored by the Office for Culture and Information of the Italian Embassy. The book, with more than 400 pages and many, many photographs and illustrations, is a salute to Turkish metropolis and its history which through the centuries has left a mark not only in the area but in the entire Mediterranean.

The volume contains contributions by Vittorio Franchetti Pardo (the historic-urban profile of the Imperial capital, from the origins to Giustinian), Eugenio Russo (architecture and sculpture in the first centuries), by the curator Tania Velmans (Byzantine painting, mosaics, frescos, icons and miniatures), Mauro Della Valle (architecture and sculpture up until 1453), Cigdem Kafescioglu (the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul between the XV and XVIII centuries), Giovanna Curatola (religious Ottoman architecture), Roberto Cassanelli (the autumn of Constantinople). A history of millenniums that made the city the heir of Rome on one side, and of the Greek and Hellenic world on the other, enriched with an amazing number of palaces, churches, places for entertainment . A history that is also the history of the places, each with a past to recount, like in the case of the largest Constantine basilica, the Santa Sofia. Always the most important religious centre in the city, it became the centre of Christian Greek Orthodoxy . But then, when the Ottomans came to power, it became a mosque, becoming the architectural model for many Islamic religious centres . However, giving the history, in a large volume with quality illustrations, of a city that has made history isn t easy due to the very many facets it has acquired over the course of the centuries which risks making even the most superficial research very difficult. On the other hand, the volume compiled by Tania Velmans is able to offer a sum of great value (from the point of view of historical analysis, architecture and even social history), but the book is not hard to metabolize. Before becoming Istanbul, the city lived in the opulent garments of Byzantium and as the cosmopolitan Constantinople. And from each of its three incarnations the city took all the elements and created a place that is magic, exotic and austere at the same time. (ANSAmed).