Istanbul Study Trip
Istanbul, created by a garland of water, was the perfect destination for the GCP Arts
of the Islamic World Study Trip (22-26 November 2017) led by Dr. Maryvelma O’Neil.
First stop was the majestic Byzantine Hagia Sophia, its imposing features visible
from the hotel where the group stayed. After the conquest of 1453 it served as a major
inspiration for famous Ottoman buildings – the luminous Blue Mosque, the spacious
Süleymaniye Mosque of master architect Mimar Sinan the Great who transformed the skyline
of the city, and the small domed mausoleum in the complex where he is still honored.
After fire damaged kitchens at the Topkapi Palace that fed 5,000 people per day during the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, indefatigable Sinan renovated them with his signature style. The visit within the palace with its stately pavilions, jewel-filled Treasury and sprawling Harem gave fascinating glimpses into the architecture of power, court protocol and sequestered lives of its imperial occupants for three centuries. Nearby on the Hippodrome, the sumptuous Palace of Ibraham Pasha, restored to exhibit the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, was also very impressive.
“I loved seeing a completely different culture and how aspects of religion, history and geographical location all translate into the very unique and different styles of art and architecture,” said first-year student, Irina Sebua.