Istanbul City Walls ProjectKoç University – Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies (GABAM), 2021
The project aims to document and visualize the Byzantine city walls of Istanbul digitally on a platform open for public use. The platform itself was designed to achieve optimum user experience while navigating. It is not only visually documenting the current situation of a huge monument (which surrounds the ancient city), but also bring together all available information on the walls which include old photographs and engravings, many drawings especially of the gates, inscriptions and architectural sculpture used on the walls, Ottoman archival documents mentioning the walls along with related scholarly knowledge. The task was completed by a team of researchers and professionals from various fields, including art historians, archaeologists, architects, epigraphers, historians, photographers (one of which is also an archaeologist), web design and visualization experts. The main aspects of the project are as in below: • Visual documentation of the existing walls surrounding the “Historical Peninsula” of Istanbul (app. 22 km in length). Every piece of the city walls (curtain wall, towers and gates) have been photographed from every possible angle by professional photographers with over 6.000 photographs. Documentation also included video recordings from air by drone following the whole line of the sea and land walls. • Mapping the architectural units of the walls based on GPS coordinates, as accompanied by visual documentation and concise written descriptions. • Producing up-to-date scientific essays by the experts to reveal the past and current situation of the monument. • Studying the relation of the walls to the modern city, both physically and culturally; the impact of the walls on life and culture of the city (example: walls in modern Turkish movies). • Providing up-to-date visual and textual sources for the future restoration/conservation works. • Sharing all the data globally. The site is bilingual (Turkish and English). • Presenting a visually explicit and convenient tool for website visitors.