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Dick Osseman | all galleries >> Istanbul >> Museums - Müzeler >> Istanbul archaeology museum > Istanbul Arch Museum 01445.jpg
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Istanbul Arch Museum 01445.jpg
09-SEP-2003

Istanbul Arch Museum 01445.jpg

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A niche with poem at İstanbul Archaeology Museum’s garden, stemming from St. Polyeuktos at İstanbul.

I elsewhere found: " Construction date:First quarter of 6th century
Comissioned by: Anicia Iuliana (Member of the Byzantine Imperial Family)
Destruction date: ?
Cause of destruction: ?
Location: Sarachane

The great church dedicated to Saint Polyeuktos of Malatya (Melitene) is a work of Anicia Juliana, a protector of the arts and one of the most powerful women of the Byzantine dynasty. The church was found during the construction excavations for the of the Municipal Palace in 1960 and later during the excavations of various roads and The Haşim İşcan Underpass. A long poem written on architectural pieces tells success stories and noble family bonds of Anicia Juliana. This challenging architecture that belongs to the 6th century bears remarkable features such as peacock motives, columns with glass and stone inlays, gilded mosaics and Iranian/Sassanid ornamentations. Materials for the construction and decoration of the church were brought from Anatolia, Italy and Tunisia. Besides its magnificent architecture, the Polyeuktos Church was at the same time a special stop on the ceremonial roads of Constantinople where imperial candle was changed.

Polyeuktos Church was damaged in an earthquake in 1010 and plundered by crusaders who reached the city in 1204. Holy relics and some of the architectural pieces were taken to Venice whereas others were transported to Barcelona and Vienna. Columns and marble revetments taken from Istanbul can still be seen on the façades of St Mark’s in Venice. The only remnants today from this monumental domed church are walls and rooms of its substructure. The destructive urbanism of Istanbul during its modernization process ironically caused the rediscovery of this long forgotten special building."

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