Click to: riverhouses.org/2020-turkey
The nation of Turkey, stretching across the traditional boundary between Europe and Asia, is one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week, so why not spend a few minutes today learning about one of Turkey’s World Heritage Sites: the Historic Areas of Istanbul.
The city of Istanbul, formerly Constantinople and before that Byzantium, is one of the most historic cities in the world.
“Strategically located on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul was successively the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, and has been associated with major events in political history, religious history, and art history for more than 2,000 years. The city is situated on a peninsula which is surrounded by the Golden Horn (Haliç), a natural harbor on the north, the Bosphorus on the east, and the Marmara Sea on the south. The historic peninsula on which the former Byzantium and Constantinople developed was surrounded by ancient walls built initially by Theodosius in the early fifth century.
“The outstanding universal value of Istanbul resides in its unique integration of architectural masterpieces that reflect the meeting of Europe and Asia over many centuries, and in its incomparable skyline formed by the creative genius of Byzantine and Ottoman architects.
“The distinctive and characteristic skyline of Istanbul was built up over many centuries and encompasses the Hagia Sophia whose vast dome reflects the architectural and decorative expertise of the 6th century, the 15th century Fatih complex and Topkapi Palace that was continually extended until the 19th century, the Süleymaniye Mosque complex and Sehzade Mosque complex, works of the chief architect Sinan, reflecting the climax of Ottoman architecture in the 16th century, the 17th century Blue Mosque, and the slender minarets of the New Mosque near the port, completed in 1664.
“The four areas of the [World Heritage Site] are the Archaeological Park at the tip of the historic peninsula; the Suleymaniye quarter with Suleymaniye Mosque complex, bazaars, and vernacular settlement around it; the Zeyrek area of settlement around the Zeyrek Mosque (the former church of the Pantocrator); and the area along both sides of the Theodosian land walls including remains of the former Blachernae Palace. These areas display architectural achievements of successive imperial periods also including the 17th century Blue Mosque, the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque, the 16th century Şehzade Mosque complex, the 15th century Topkapi Palace, the hippodrome of Constantine, the aqueduct of Valens, the Justinian churches of Hagia Sophia, St. Irene, Küçük Ayasofya Mosque (the former church of the Sts. Sergius and Bacchus), the Pantocrator Monastery founded under John II Comnene by Empress Irene; the former Church of the Holy Saviour of Chora with its mosaics and paintings dating from the 14th and 15th centuries; and many other exceptional examples of various building types including baths, cisterns, and tombs.“ (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #356)
Istanbul occupies both sides of the narrow Bosphorus strait that connects the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list online at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites (riverhouses.org/2019-wh-map), available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures are you exploring in your homeschool this Hercules Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books) for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 745–852; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇹🇷
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list (riverhouses.org/newsletter) to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌍