International conference held at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, 5-6 November 2015


Organisers: Cecilia Olovsdotter & Johan Mårtelius

Sponsor: Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond)

Location: Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, İstiklal cad. 247, Tünel-Beyoğlu

In Constantinople, centre of three empires that together lasted more than 1600 years and melting pot for three great religions and for Eastern and Western social systems and cultural traditions, old and new architectural forms were developed to serve various purposes. In this conference we will explore the correlations between architectural forms and their concrete functions and symbolic meanings in late antique, Byzantine and Ottoman contexts, with an emphasis on how architecture could represent and serve as connecting links between different realms and abstract notions. The time frame is c. 300 to 1900, and the geographical frame Constantinople–Istanbul and its sphere of influence (Mediterranean, Near East). Papers will deal with built architecture — single monuments and building-types, ceremonial settings, urban contexts — as well as architectural motifs in art and literature, and more wide-ranging phenomena of architectural history and continuities in the employment of architectural forms over time and between cultures.

Day 1, Thursday 5 November:
9.30 Registration
10.00 Welcome

Session 1 :Transcending realities: architecture and symbolic conception. Chair: Inge
Uytterhoeven, Koç Üniversitesi, İstanbul
10.10 Maria Cristina Carile (Universita di Bologna): Iconicity and architecture in late antiquity and
Byzantium: on the role of represented architecture betvveen material and immateriai, reai and
10.50 Cecilia Olovsdotter (Svvedish Research Institute in İstanbul): From earth to heaven:
transcendental concepts of architecture in Late Roman and Early Byzantine art (c. 300-700)
11.30 Coffee break
11.45 Federica Broilo (Mardin Artuklu Üniversitesi): The Fountain o f Paradise: symbolism and
function o f the selsebil fountain in the Mediterranean world
12.25 Gertrud Olsson (Kungl. Tekniska Högskolan, Stockholm): Some remarks on in-built
symbols in tiled mosques from the Ottoman era
(13.05 Lunch break)

Session 2: Architecture in literary vision. Chair: Johan Mârtelius, Svvedish Research
Institute in İstanbul
14.20 Mabi Angar (Üniversite Köln): Spanish Eyes. City Representathns in the Monastery of
Saint Mary Peribleptos as seen by Ruy Gonzalez de Ciavijo
15.00 Helena Bodin (Stockholms Universitet; Nevvmaninstitutet, Uppsala): “Dwelling place and
palace”. The Theotokos as a spatial paradigm in the verbal imagery o f Byzantine hymnography
16.40 Ingela Nilsson (Uppsala Universitet): İn the chambers of emperors of old”: symbolic
meaning in twelfth-century description
16.20 Coffee break
16.35 Ali Uzay Peker (Middle East Technical University, Ankara): Architectural symbolism and
theosophical cosmology in medieval Anatolia under the Turkic dynasties
17.15 İlknur Aktuğ Kolay (İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi): Symbolic aspects of architecture in the
Classical Ottoman period

Day 2, Friday 6 November:
Session 3: Frames for povver and ceremony. Chair: Cecilia Olovsdotter, Svvedish Research
Institute in İstanbul
10.00 CNRS/EHESS Paris; Üniversite de Fribourg):
the Great Palace o f Constantirıople
10.40 Ruth Macrides (University of Birmingham): Ceremonial and architecture after the Book of
11.20 Coffee break
11.35 Frouke Schrijver (Amsterdam): The hybrid architecture o f a royal reception room: the
Blachernaipalace triklinos and the Cappella Palatina compared ( 12th- 14th c.)
12.15 Nina Ergin (Koç Üniversitesi, İstanbul): Status, power, and sound: the decorum of
recitation programmes in Mimar Sinan’s mosques
(12.55 Lunch break)
Session 4: Sacral structures. Chair: Ali Uzay Peker, Middle East Technical University, Ankara
14.10 Sabine Feist (Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg): Symbolic aspects of late antique church architecture. Sacred spaces on the threshold o f a new era
14.50 Paul Magdalino (University of St Andrevvs): Some lost and little-knovvn Byzantine churches
in the vicinity of Hagia Sophia
15.30 Coffee break
15.45 Jelena Bogdanovie (lowa State University): Nested in its own shape: on the modularity
and transposition of canopies in the Byzantine church
16.25 Johan Mârtelius (Svvedish Research Institute in İstanbul): Fountains of life and afterlife
symbolism in the Ottoman şadırvan
17.05 – c. 17.40 Concluding discussion

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