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Every Picture Tells A Story: İstanbul

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#1 Abi


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:28 PM

The three great Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have their own ideas on how far the depiction of the human form in religious art is appropriate. Islam takes the clearest-cut stance, with the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) expressly forbidding human representation in worship as idolatrous.

In today’s synagogues, depictions of the human form are similarly notable only for their absence, as idolatry is also a sin in Judaism -- though this did not prevent figurative art, in the form of both mosaics and frescoes, being used to embellish synagogues in Dura Europos (in modern Syria) in the fourth and third centuries B.C. In Christianity, however, despite similar injunctions against idolatry, figurative art was generally embraced by both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, and the places of worship of both these faiths are still today often liberally adorned with images.

Whether the use of the human form in a place of worship constitutes idolatry or not is, then, one of interpretation. What is certain, however, is that the depiction of Christ, Mary, biblical figures and assorted saints in many churches has resulted in some unique and sublimely beautiful religious art. Nowhere is this truer than in İstanbul’s dazzling Kariye Museum. Undoubtedly one of İstanbul’s top attractions, this mosaic and fresco-filled wonder, formerly the Byzantine Church of St. Savior in Chora, receives far fewer visitors than it should because of its slightly inconvenient location -- almost on the line of the land walls of Theodosius, a short walk northeast of the famous gate of Edirnekapı, the scene of Sultan Mehmet II’s (the conqueror) triumphant entry into Constantinople on May 29, 1453.....

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. - Thomas Jefferson

#2 Fen


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Posted 23 March 2012 - 02:44 PM

Thank you, Abi!I really do like Kariye and I've been wondering why Kariye is not as recommended as Aya Sofia. In my opinion, they are quite comparable, except Aya Sofia feels just one of the tourist attractions, but Kariye has special authentic feeling. And it's much prettier as well.

#3 gracealanya


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Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:13 AM

Thankyou for posting this AbiI visited Kariye last year when I was in Istanbul for a few days. Kariye is absolutely stunning and is so worth a visit. I can't find the words to describe how i felt when I saw all the wonderful mosaics and murals.All I can say is make the effort to visit, you will not be disappointed.

#4 Abi


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Posted 28 March 2012 - 07:17 PM

Thank you both for adding to the thread. It's always good to get fed back, good or bad, from people who have actually been to the places I post articles for, :)

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. - Thomas Jefferson

#5 dande



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Posted 31 March 2012 - 10:12 AM

Delta Airlines Sky Magazine listed Kariye Museum No. 9 of the 30 Must-See Museums of the World. The listing was put together by Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

More of the Must-See Museums here.

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page" (St. Augustine)