The Great Palace Mosaic Museum is located close to Sultanahmet Square, in Istanbul, Turkey, near Arasta Bazaar. This small museum houses mosaics from the Byzantine period, unearthed at the site of the Great Palace of Constantinople. I went to this museum Monday, but it was closed that day, so yesterday was my next opportunity to visit. I thought this would work out perfectly, if only because I was still recovering from the flu and thought it best that I not overextend myself. As it turned out, I probably did a bit too much yesterday, because later that evening I seemed to have relapsed. Regardless, the Great Palace Mosaic Museum was wonderful and I am glad I ended up going.
According to historians, the mosaics date back to the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, 527-565AD. It was uncovered during extensive excavations at Arasta Bazaar by Turkish archaeologists in 1935-1938. Further excavations uncovered more mosaics in 1951-1954. Apparently, the mosaics formed part of the south-west Great Palace; and, more specifically, a peristyle courtyard, decorated entirely of mosaics.
I love this sort of stuff, especially being so close to the mosaics. However, it must be a security nightmare to protect these beautiful treasures. Although they have video cameras and a temperature controlled environment, I was surprised that the mosaics on the walls were unprotected by glass or some sort of enclosure. You could actually touch these mosaics if you felt like it (I didn’t).
The entire museum probably takes no more than 45 minutes to an hour to explore. I was fascinated by the mosaics because of the stories they told, e.g., bucolic scenes of men fishing, children playing, feeding lifestock; as well as scenes of men hunting wild animals and apex predators hunting prey. The museum has excellent “story boards” explaining what you are looking at, albeit, many are self-explanatory. They also had outstanding information about the difficult excavation and restoration of the mosaics; including, the eventual transfer of them from an inferior museum building site, to this excellent building, which is well suited to show these fragile mosaics.
Afterwards, I discovered the Arasta Bazaar. I am no expert in fine Turkish linens, carpets, jewelry, and leather, but this area is quite nice and in my estimation, you probably will get something that is “genuinely” from Turkey and not a knock off from China. There also are some really good restaurants near by as well. That’s just my take. By the by, what a godsend the WordPress Android application is. It has made cut down the time I take on a typical post some 40% minimally. The process is so seamless, that I am enjoying blogging again. I was seriously thinking about taking longer breaks from posting a thread or even quiting altogether. The process had become so trying and I was getting exasperated and frustrated with the tools I had to work with. Not anymore – the WordPress application is excellent and if you are thinking about traveling and blogging light with an Android based tablet or Apple OIS, I would now recommend it. Prior to discovering this application, I would have adamantly said, no way jose. That’s how bad my experience had been doing it via various browsers, e.g., Chrome, Opera, Firefox, etc. Some were bad and some were REALLY BAD. Anywho, I think my posts will be much smoother now, albeit, slow WIFI continues to be an obstacle at some of the hotels I have stayed at.
Until my next post, take care . . . 🙂