Biography of a Landmark, The Chora Monastery and Kariye Camii in Constantinople/Istanbul from Late Antiquity to the 21st Century


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With its reconversion to a mosque in August 2020, the former monastic church of Saint Saviour in Chora entered yet another phase of its long history. The present book examines the Chora/Kariye Camii site from a transcultural perspective, tracing its continuous transformations in form and function from Late Antiquity to the present day. Whereas previous literature has almost exclusively placed emphasis on the Byzantine phase of the building’s history, including the status of its mosaics and paintings as major works of Palaiologan culture, this study is the first to investigate the shifting meanings with which the Chora/Kariye Camii site has been invested over time and across uninterrupted alterations, interventions, and transformations. Bringing together contributions from archaeologists, art historians, philologists, anthroplogists and historians, the volume provides a new framework for understanding not only this building but, more generally, edifices that have undergone interventions and transformations within multicultural societies.

The open access publication of this book has been published with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
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Manuela Studer-Karlen is a Swiss National Science Foundation (snsf) professor at the University of Bern. Her research centres on the history of visual-cultural processes in late antiquity, the interactions among text, image, and space in Byzantine churches, medieval Georgian art, and Gothic ivories
With its focus on a major monument of Istanbul across the ages, the book will interest historians and art historians, archaeologists, Byzantinists, Ottomanists, professionals in cultural heritage, political scientists, sociologists, and anthropologists.
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