Summer School - Istanbul Through the Ages, 3-21 July 2017, Istanbul, Turkey

Publish Date: Mar 21, 2017

Deadline: Apr 01, 2017

Event Dates: from Jul 03, 2017 12:00 to Jul 21, 2017 12:00

About the Program

Istanbul through the Ages is an intensive, multi-disciplinary, graduate summer course of Koç University’ Research Centre for Anatolian Civilizations-ANAMED, developed since 2011. The course investigates the development, the monumental topography, the urban history and the cultural heritage of the city of Istanbul through a set of thematic explorations. Its chronological frame stretches from Neolithic period and first archaeological traces of settlements in the area, goes up to 20thcentury urban planning of the city and includes the discussions on its current reconstruction projects. Thus, the course offers an exceptionally rich historical perspective, with an emphasis put on the Byzantine and Ottoman periods and their interactions. Hence, it encourages students to explore and understand Istanbul’s topography as an exciting palimpsest of empires, and cultures at first hand.  

This three-week program is divided into several modules taught by Koç University’s faculty members from the departments of Archaeology/History of Art and History while invited guest lecturers cover special topics. In all modules, students will focus on how written and visual sources, archaeological and architectural remains are used to shed light on the topography and the development of the city. Thus, the course enables students to explore how past and present connect and to investigate the extremely complex and multi-layered urban fabric they produce in a thriving modern city of Istanbul. Overall, the course provides students with a unique opportunity to deepen their understanding and knowledge of Istanbul thought the ages, a priceless experience that will enable them to progress further in their studies and research.

Date: July 3 – 21, 2017


The classes are conducted 5 days a week, from Monday to Friday, and the activities include a set of thematic in-class lectures combined with related study trips to the museums, the monuments and the archaeological sites.

This three-week program is divided into several modules and each module has its own distinct content and schedule. In single day modules, the classes take place in the morning and they are followed by the study trips in the afternoon. In the Byzantine and Ottoman modules, in-class lectures take place in the morning and in the afternoon.  In situ explorations of related sites and monuments are organized as daily study trips.


Readings, in-class lectures and discussions provide the context and background for a series of study trips that include guided visits of specific monuments and historic walks in the city of Istanbul. All study trips are carefully designed to enable the exploration of the urban fabric of the city at first hand.

The visit of the Yenikapı metro station and the surrounding area sets the stage for the foundation of the settlement in Istanbul. Joined with the visit of the conservation laboratory for the Byzantine ships, this study trip allows students to understand the scope and the achievements of the Yenikapı excavations. The visit of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and the walk in the Gülhane Park pushes students to consider problems involved in the reconstructing of pre-Constantinian Byzantium and to imagine how the early Greco-Roman city might have been like on the bases scattered archaeological remains.

The exploration of the topography and the monumental development of Byzantine Constantinople involves several study trips and historic walks. Divided into three thematic units, these study trips include the visits of all major Byzantine monuments and structures preserved in the city. The foundation of Constantinople, its early development and its golden age during the reign of the emperor Justinian are explored in a thorough walk in the Sultanahmet area that includes the visits of the Basilica Cistern, the Hippodrome area, the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Hagia Eirene Museum, the Mosaic Museum, Kücük Aya Sofia Camii (Sts Sergius and Bacchus). This study trips ends with the exploration of the Land Walls (Yedikule) and the discussions of the defense system of the Byzantine capital in relation to the ongoing research project of Koç University Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies (GABAM) about the Land Walls of Constantinople. The development of Constantinople as the medieval megalopolis and the major city in Christendom, approached through the lens of its topography, architectural development and artistic life, is investigated in the visits of the Feneri Isa Camii (monastery of Constantine Lips), the Bodrum Camii (Myrelaion), the Kalenderhane Camii and the Zeyrek Camii (Pantocrator Monastery). Monumental topography of Late Byzantine Constantinople in correlation to the cultural life at the time, largely neglected phase in the development of the city, is explored in the visits of the Kariye Museum (Chora Church), Tekfur Saray, Cistern of Aetios, the Fethiye Camii (St. Mary Pammakaristos) and the Arap Camii. Finally, the visits of the church of Hagia Euphemia at Sultanahmet and the Küçükyalı Archaeological Site represent two particular assets of the program. Besides seeing the architectural remains and the fresco decoration of the Hagia Euphemia Church, closed to the public, students will meet with the conservation team to discuss the preservation and environmental arrangements of the site. The visit of the Küçükyalı Archaeological Site, the largest archaeological area located on the Asian side of Istanbul, gives them the opportunity to explore the remains of the patriarchal monastic complex of Satyros but also to meet with Küçükyalı ArkeoPark and discuss how this project contributes to the conservation of Byzantine cultural heritage and integrates it into daily city life.

The transformation and the making of Constantinople into the Ottoman capital is investigated through the study trip that includes the visits of Topkapı Palace, Sultan Ahmet Mosque Complex, Divan yolu, Bayezıd Square, Süleymaniye Mosque-Complex and the library. The historic walk in the Eyüp area allows students to explore the seventeenth and eighteenth century Ottoman history, living in the urban landscape. The historic walk in the Galata neighborhood provides the students with the opportunity to understand the architectural and urban development of the nineteenth century Istanbul.

In all study trips, but most particularly the field trip in the Sultanahmet area, students will have the opportunity to tackle the aspects of the contemporary city and to address some of its heritage issues and challenges. 


Digital copies of the readings will be sent in advance, together with the topics for papers/presentations, to e-mail addresses of the enrolled students. Students have the opportunity to use all the facilities of the ANAMED library where a specially designated book shelf will be reserved for the course, with all necessary reference books.

Certificates and transcripts

ANAMED issues certificates to all students who successfully complete the program. If you need an officially issued transcript, please be in touch in a timely manner with the coordinators.


  • Participants are expected to stay in the ANAMED dorms. The classes also take place in the same building. 
  • Lunch is included 4 days a week. Students receive vouchers to be redeemed at a restaurant nearby. 


  • Airfare and visa arrangements and expenses are each participant’s own responsibility.


  • $3000/ €2750


Based on a combination of merit and financial need, Koç University Stavros Niarchos Foundation will award 1 full scholarship.

Additionally, ANAMED will award 1 full scholarship and 1 half scholarship.

To apply for scholarships or financial aid grants, please indicate as such on your application and include a 500-word statement delineating your reasons for needing financial assistance.


How to Apply

Please review the requirements section and make sure that you are eligible to apply. Please fill in the Application Form and send it along with all the documents below to Duygu Tarkan at before the April 1st deadline.

  1. Application Form
  2. Current CV
  3. One recommendation letter
  4. Statement of purpose
  5. Copy of your passport

After the deadline, the program professors come together and evaluate all candidates. We send out an email to all candidates by the first week of May and announce the results.
We expect all candidates to accept or reject our offer within a week.

Those who are accepted to the program are expected to do the following:

  1. Fill out the Special Student Form (This is only required for those who want to receive credit for the program).
  2. Send an email to and confirm that you have made the payment.


Tuition for Summer 2017 will be 2700 EUR / 3000 USD.
Please note that airfare and visa expenses are each participants’ own responsibility.

The tuition includes:
Accommodation at ANAMED
All course material
Lunch four days a week
All expenses of field trips
Full access to the ANAMED Library

Important Notes

1. Please make sure you have travel insurance and health insurance.

2. Program invitation letters will be sent to you by Koç University, ANAMED Fellowship Coordinator, Duygu Tarkan once you are accepted.

3. Please do not forget to check, if it is required for you to obtain a visa for Turkey. It is your own responsibility to make your visa application on time. It usually takes 6-8 weeks to obtain a visa during summer period.

4. Participants should be curious, dynamic, ready for long and exciting walks in the city that often lead to unexpected discoveries and unforgettable experiences of sharing the passion for the exploration of the multi-layered fabric of Istanbul through the ages. 

5. Make sure you bring the following with you:

  • Your own digital camera
  • Your own laptop
  • Appropriate walking shoes
  • Water bottle
  • Back pack
  • Appropriate clothes for hot weather
  • For evenings make sure you bring a light coat/pullover
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat/Cap

If you are using any type of medication, please make sure you have them with you.

For more information click "Further official information" below.

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