The artifacts and architecture of Turkey are remarkable, with its rich blend of spiritual traditions. At its best, the Ottomans brought together artists and philosophers from every corner of the world and every path of faith. Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr said the Mulsim Cailiphs would send Christian artists on learning missions, so they could return and paint even more beautiful Christian icons. Aside from the cuisine, which I love, my interest in all things Turkish began with a Ripley’s Believe It or Not story about a Turkish prince, who losing his shield in a battle, tore off an armored door from the fort his forces were defending, and used it as his shield for the remainder of the day.
There is something wonderful, exciting, and mystical about a country the very roads of which are older than the discovery of the continent on which I live.

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24360_385452232635_4030147_nToday’s Friday photo is an image of the ruins of Aphrodisias, an ancient city in Turkey near to modern-day Denizli. During its ancient heyday, Aphrodisias was the site of flourishing sculpture production, although it suffered from earthquakes several times in its history. As the name suggests, the city was devoted to Aphrodite, and a temple in her honour was a major part of the urban landscape. As this photo attests, however, the city survived into the Christian period–seen in these Byzantine cross panels. They brought new symbolism into the temple when it was converted into a church for Christian worship. These panels are a beautiful reminder of the ways in which Hellenic and Roman traditions were incorporated into the new Christianity, endowing it with everything from the basilica form of church architecture to the iconography of Christ and his angels.

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