Hollanda Araştırma Enstitüsü  -  Nederlands Instituut in Turkije

Fethiye Camii as a Cultural Heritage Site

Istanbul’s religious cultural heritage includes the material remains of some thirty former Byzantine churches and chapels, which have survived in different conditions, forms and functions. The building that is called Fethiye Camii, which is located on the fifth hill of the city’s historic peninsula in the neighbourhood of Çarşamba, was built in the 12th Century as the Church of the Pammakaristos and was transformed into a mosque in the late 16th Century. While the main building is still in use as a mosque, the side chapel (beginning 14th Century), and a part of the ambulatory that enveloped the church have been restored between 1949 and 1963 and now function as a museum showing Byzantine mosaics.

Fethiye Camii - The Former Pammakaristos Church as a Cultural Heritage Site in Istanbul

Istanbul’s religious cultural heritage includes the material remains of some thirty former Byzantine churches and chapels, which have survived in different conditions, forms and functions. The building that is called Fethiye Camii, which is located on the fifth hill of the city’s historic peninsula in the neighbourhood of Çarşamba, was built in the 12th Century as the Church of the Pammakaristos and was transformed into a mosque in the late 16th Century. While the main building is still in use as a mosque, the side chapel (beginning 14th Century), and a part of the ambulatory that enveloped the church have been restored between 1949 and 1963 and now function as a museum showing Byzantine mosaics.
This research project by Mariëtte Verhoeven focuses on the meaning and value of Fethiye Camii/Pammakaristos Church as a cultural heritage site in Istanbul. In order to identify the material remains of the past that did make it into the present, she will investigate the built fabric in its current state, including decoration, liturgical objects, and inscriptions. To establish which of the surviving parts of the building belong to which construction or restoration phase, historical data will also be considered. A further aim is to expose the memories and meanings that are attached to the building by different groups that engage(d) with it.
Virtual reality techniques now offer the possibility to unlock and to activate the memorial potential of historical buildings in a historically relativistic, non normative and reversible manner. Through the case of Fethiye Camii/Pammakaristos Church Verhoeven wants to show how with the help of these techniques multiple phases of the transformation of a building can be visualized and how new meaning can be added in order to unlock, enhance, and enrich the contested Byzantine heritage of Istanbul.


Outcomes of the project until now:
Presentation of a paper entitled ‘Revealing the Past for the Future. Fethiye Mosque and Museum as a Cultural Heritage Site in Istanbul’ (Heritage, Tourism and Hospitality International Conference 2015, Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

Organization (together with Daniëlle Slootjes) of the international conference ‘Byzantine Studies Alive! (Radboud University, The Netherlands 2016). Presentation of a paper entitled ‘Unlocking Byzantine Heritage Through Digital Techniques – Opportunities and Limitations’.

Research paper:
‘Revealing and Presenting the Past(s) for the Public. Fethiye Mosque and Museum as a cultural heritage site in Istanbul’ in: Heritage and Tourism: Places, Imageries, and the Digital Age. Edited by Linde Egberts & Maria D. Alvarez (Amsterdam University Press; planned for 2018).