The Theodosian Walls and beyond.
11.08.2012 - 02.09.2012
Istanbul, August 27th 2012
I returned to the bus terminal in front of Istiklal Caddesi and was lucky to find my Istanbul City Hop-on Hop-off Tour Bus parking there.
Walls! Walls! I chocked. I thought I had entered civilization. I thought I had left the ancient world behind. I forgot that even in the Old Testament, city walls is a common term. And as a matter of fact, Turkey is more Biblical than China, for sure. Walls, that's not the Chinese's thing alone. Maybe it's like batik again?
I opted to get off at Edirnekapi, because the map I got from Viator stated there was a synagogue nearby. I have never seen one in real life. But of course being here anyway, I explored the walls a bit.
In general, the walls are called The Walls of Constantinople as they were to protect the city of Constantinople which is Istanbul today. However, the walls of Edirnekapi are called The Theodosian Walls which is located about 2 km to the west of the old Constantinian Wall. According to Wikipedia, this wall construction took 9 years, starting in ca. 404/405, in the reign of Emperor Arcadius (r. 395–408) and continued in the reign of Emperor Theodosius II (r. 408–450), after whom the walls were named. The Theodosian Walls is one of the Historic Areas of Istanbul, listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO.
This is another shot of Edirnekapi which means "The Gate of Edirne". Later on I realized how often names of places in Istanbul end with "kapi" behind. Undoubtedly, Istanbul had been a city within walls, no much different than Xi'an. I would like to say that the Silk Road starts with walls and ends with walls, no matter from either point you start.
This is what's said about Edirnekapi. Or shall I copy the English version for you?
Theodosius II had a wall longer than 20 km built surrounding Istanbul and 95 towers were erected between the walls within the facilities including enlarging the walls, new walls, ramparts and digs in 408. Many gates were made being opened to sea and to the outside but only five of these gates were being opened to two main Mese which were Roman main roads from the beginning. The gate known as Harisius and Adrianopolis Gate during Roman times it was named Edirnekapi since it was being opened to the road which loaded to Edirne. Until the new roads were built in 1980s and 1990s the road to Edirne passed from here and the road was known as Edirne motorway. Edirnekapi is being opened to the outside with a bridge over the dig aimed at protecting the city. You get to the sixth highest hill of Istanbul when you enter from this gate. In this respect many glorious buildings such as Mihrumah Sultan Mosque, Kariye Mosque and Kariye Mosque were built around and inside the door both in Roman times and Ottoman times. The original Edirnekapi is the south part of today's Edirnekapi, on the west Mihrumah Sultan Mosque.
"Many gates were made being opened to sea..." said the information above. This is one tower gate that faces the sea. I took this picture from the bus and couldn't get the view with the Sea of Marmara.
Oh yeah but I got a shot with the wall remain and Sea of Marmara. Not too bad-lah.
This is another shot I made from the bus. When I was a kid, I had toy houses with doors and windows exactly like these. Hmmm... I should look for them and take pictures. Maybe those toys was a prophecy. Aha.
While on the bus, I had taken a short video clip of the city walls. Unfortunately I didn't get a seat by the window side that directly faced the walls. Thus, I couldn't make a clear shot.
I was too late to make a shot before entering the gate wall. It was kind like entering the gate wall in Xi'an.
I couldn't find the synagogue I had intended to visit. But I did go through Edirnekapi, one of the five gates that opens to the road. I walked the road, and walked, and walked. That's a story of next post.