Wandering through the old districts of Istanbul, you can easily see how rich and multi-layered is the history of this city, the former capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. This is evidenced not only by the most magnificent and well-known buildings but also by those less apparent, often hidden in a tangle of narrow streets. One of them is the building of the old bazaar, now known as Taşhan i.e. the Stone Inn. We stumbled across it accidentally, wandering from Yenikapi station towards Şehzade Mosque. Our attention was caught by a stone building, the entrance of which was visible at the end of the alley turning off Gençtürk Street. Soon, we found out that it was worth getting off the main route because Taşhan is not only an extremely photogenic place but also the one with a fascinating history and hiding a great secret.
As the travel plans of so many of us collapsed with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the only possible way to visit the archaeological sites and museums is to go online and check which collections have already been digitised. In the case of Turkey, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism established Sanal Muze website that offers a 3D experience of some of the best-known state-run archaeological and ethnographic museums. The downside of this project is the fact that even though the museums offer descriptions of the exhibits, they are only available in Turkish at the moment.
On April 14, 2020, five sites of historical importance located in the area of Turkey were added to the UNESCO Tentative List, extending it to 83 positions. These new additions include a small historical town of Central Anatolia, a huge port city of the Aegean coast, a beautiful valley in Kayseri Province, a neo-Hittite site in Southern Anatolia, and Roman-era fortifications situated in the south-eastern part of the country. Moreover, two castles on the Aegean coast were added to the previously registered list of fortresses and trading stations on the Genoese trade routes. We have provided an overview of these sites in a separate article. This is a varied and well-balanced collection of the places of enormous significance for the history of the region.
Five new historical places located in Turkey were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List on April the 14th of 2020, increasing the number of objects on this list to 83. The five new places are: historical town of Beypazarı in Ankara Province, the historical harbour city of Izmir on the Aegean coast, Karatepe-Arslantaş archaeological site in Osmaniye Province, Koramaz Valley in Kayseri Province, and the Zerzevan Castle and Mithraeum in Diyarbakır Province. Moreover, the list of Fortifications on Genoese Trade Routes from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, first registered in 2013 was extended by the addition of two places: Çeşme Fortress and Güvercinada Fortress in Kuşadası.
The district of the Temple of Athena represents the typical situation within the Hisarlık Mound – the accumulation of multiple settlement layers and structures one on the other. Here, the sacred precinct of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, handicraft, and just warfare was erected on the bastion of the Late Bronze Age Troy. The Temple of Athena was rebuilt several times and was finally demolished, becoming the source of construction materials in the early-modern era.