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From Hagia Sophia to Ayasofya: Architecture and the Persistence of MemoryAdd to Queue

  • Posted by : metmuseum

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  • Date posted : Jan 01, 1970

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Robert G. Ousterhout Professor, University of Pennsylvania In Istanbul, it constitutes a radical political statement to call the city Constantinople. While other nations and capitals used their pasts to forge modern identities, the pre-Ottoman past of Istanbul continues to stand in dramatic opposition to the present, doubly tainted by its Hellenism and its Christianity. Rather than providing validation or symbolic underpinnings, it could only serve to empower a ruling regime (whether late Ottoman or Republican) by remaining conquered -- that is, if its churches continue to function as mosques and its spaces of power remain unexplored.

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