From Byzance to Istanbul Acoustiguide

Download this on iTunes (French version, couldn’t find English version).

Made in 2010, this podcast by the Aux Gallerie nationales du Grand Palais  looks at this Turkish world capital throughout history, and the many conquests and influences that left its mark there.  This guide even goes beyond the Roman conquest of this place with earlier kingdoms.  Interesting, how history tends to neglect that early part.

The podcast largely depicts the legacy of Byzantium as a constantly conquered place.  Post Modernism courtesy of Imperialism.  Even I, when this podcast had the name Byzance (the reportedly early first king) in its title, I wondered if somebody did not use the spellchecker or did not run it through an editor.  Shows how much I know.  The soundtrack shows up sparsely, but with its orchestra, synthesizer, and piano keys gives an atmosphere of past grandeur lost to time.  Or capture a tense moment.  During the Ottoman section, they play some type of Middle Eastern music.  Strangely, I heard some vague sitar music during one podcast while they were talking about the Chinese-Ottoman fusion of art in part 37.  Imagine listening to this music while looking at the Hagia Sophia, and it meshes well.  The acoustiguide itself goes from Neolithic age to the Modern era.  They give where they found their art/sculpture, its intentions,  and the history of  the culture  it came from.  Pretty comprehensive too, since you will come away knowing the environment and diet of the people alive during that time.  The art the series talks about revolves mostly around pottery, coins, accessories, sculpture, portraits, monuments, mosaics, icons, chalices, silk, and other forms of furniture.

Sadly, if you download this series, you will find no photos of the works they talk about.  This podcast features loots of Greek mythology surrounding the art, at least until the Ottoman era.  Interestingly, while the Ottomans defeated the Venetians and took Constantinople away from them, they still worked with each other in creating art.  You will learn about the culture clashes did happen between austere Muslims and Europeans who wanted the exotic life of Byzantine.  A lot of the art came mostly by outsiders not from the Ottoman empire.  We do learn about Ottoman craftsmen and the rare painter.  Armenian influence shows up during the Ottoman era.  The last, and longest podcast ends with the narrator talking about railways built during the 2000s, and the many findings they found.

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