Without a doubt, Turkey is of the world’s great destinations for exploring the interconnections of history and art. As the cultural heartbeat of the country, Istanbul boasts a wealth of museums full of artistic treasures. One such must-visit museum is the Great Palace Mosaic Museum, known in Turkish as the Büyük Saray Mozaikleri Müzesi. The museum is located on the European side of the city, close to Sultanahmet Square and the Arasta Bazaar on the Historical Peninsula. It houses numerous priceless mosaics from the Byzantine period that were unearthed at the site of the Great Palace of Constantinople.
Historical Marvel Hidden for Centuries – Discovered Just Underfoot
In the mid-twentieth century, archaeologists from the University of Ankara and the University of St Andrews in Scotland excavated around the Arasta Bazaar market area, at the rear of the famed Blue Mosque. What they uncovered was truly priceless – a stunning peristyle courtyard, covering nearly two thousand square meters, almost entirely decorated in mosaics featuring hunting and mythological scenes. Dating from early Byzantine times and remarkably well-preserved, the mosaic was still mostly intact. It underwent restoration works from 1983 to 1997. Visitors can now view this nearly two millennia old artistic masterpiece at the Great Palace Mosaic Museum that was built to showcase it.
Experts believe that Roman Emperor Justinian had the mosaic created as an addition to the Great Palace of Byzantium. While the pavement courtyard is estimated to have originally measured from 3,500 to 4,000 square meters, only about half of that surface is has been discovered. The rest has either been destroyed or remains buried underneath the Blue Mosque and the surrounding buildings. The largest discovered remnant measures approximately 250 square meters and is on display to visitors. It is covered in bucolic images, heart-shaped leaves and a delicate border featuring a ribbon design. The most colorful and arguably the most stunning image depict two men carrying spears and holding off a raging tiger.
Discovering Istanbul History – Stay Centrally on the Historical Peninsula
History lovers intent on discovering all of Istanbul’s most remarkable artistic treasures will do well to stay in the heart of the city, where many of its museums and sites of archaeological interest are concentrated. Yet, being centrally located does not mean breaking one’s budget: savvy travelers know that comfort, convenience and a reasonable budget can go hand in hand, if you know what to look for.
One of the city’s best value-for-quality deals is to be found at the Hotel Büyük Keban. We are proud to offer that rare combination of affordable comfort in a great location. The Hotel Büyük Keban, conveniently situated in the heart of European Istanbul’s Old City, is a great option for travelers looking for a welcoming and comfortable stay at reasonable rates.
After over forty years of pleasing guests with great service at great prices, we completely renovated our premises in 2012 to better serve you. We would love to show you all we have to offer – contact us today to start your memorable visit to Istanbul!