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Proposals for the Conservation of the Middle Byzantine Period Monuments of Istanbul and Their Neighborhoods, three examples: Vefa Mosque, Fethiye Mosque and Atik Mustafa Paşa Mosque

Mine Esmer, Istanbul Technical University,Summer Fellow 2008/09

The summer fellowship has provided me with a great opportunity to use resources available at Dumbarton Oaks. The subject I have chosen to study is very complex, and extremely challenging as well. The long history of the buildings, their past repairs and additions, their neighborhoods, modern users and the social environment around them present important problems to consider and to solve. I am determined to reach my aim by considering these problems and listing a number of solutions for the preservation of the buildings including their neighborhoods.

In order to conduct a thorough analysis of these Byzantine-era structures I especially have to carefully examine the past repairs of the buildings. The Byzantine Institute has carried out restorations and has very detailed photographic and drawing surveys of the Byzantine buildings in Istanbul. My aim during the period of my fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks was to complete an in-depth analysis of this archive. The great opportunity afforded by the use of the research materials at the library of Dumbarton Oaks enabled me to undertake a comparative study of each individual photograph and drawing of the monuments. I also gave some of my recent photographs as a gift to Dumbarton Oaks Photo Archive, which I thought would be helpful to other researchers at Dumbarton Oaks who are studying topics similar to mine.

Regarding my long-term goals, with all the documentation I have so far gathered at Dumbarton Oaks, and previously in Istanbul, I will set up folders for the monuments I am focusing on, involving the historical sequence of changes during their lifetime and also including their current state. In that way, I will be able to carry out a comparative study at the end of which I will be able to propose a list of solutions for their preservation. I have no doubt that my researches here at Dumbarton Oaks have equipped me with very necessary knowledge. I was able to make contacts with colleagues which will lead to international collaboration. By 2010 I hope to complete my dissertation, presenting guidelines for the preservation of some Middle Byzantine-era monuments of Istanbul, to assist with the conservation of those long neglected monuments.

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