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Biography of a Landmark: The Chora Monastery and Kariye Camii in Constantinople/Istanbul from Late Antiquity to the 21st Century
Following the decision of the Turkish government – in August 2020 – to change its juridical status, the former church of Saint Saviour in Chora in Istanbul entered a new phase of its history. As with other Byzantine monuments – starting from Hagia Sophia – its conversion into a mosque is for many a cause for alarm, inasmuch as its renewed destination for Islamic worship can be expected to have a strong impact on the conservation of its décors and be at odds with its meaning as shared heritage of mankind that its use as a museum was able to convey. The Fribourg workshop aims to look at Chora from a transcultural perspective, by retracing its continuous transformations in form and function from Late Antiquity to the present day. The main aim will be to warn scholars against the enduring tendency to look at monuments as living remnants of lost worlds and to more deeply analyse the dynamics by which historical landmarks are gradually invested with new meanings and uninterruptedly reshaped.
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