The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has announced plans for a new project that will see the city’s rich and diverse heritage celebrated through the creation of a “historical route” that will display artifacts unearthed in İstanbul from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras.
The starting point of the network of routes is to be Yenikapı, where excavations for an important transfer hub in İstanbul’s metro system in 2004 revealed a wealth of historical artifacts and treasures.
Artifacts discovered at the 58,000-square-meter site over the past eight years date back to the late Ottoman era, the early Byzantine period and even Neolithic times. Among the finds at the site was the fourth century Port of Theodosius, which was part of the ancient Constantinople harbor of Eleutherios, and an intact shipwreck believed to be from the fifth century, complete with its cargo and timber frame.
İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş said the hope is that the project will allow the artifacts unearthed in İstanbul in recent years to be organized according to the historical era to which they belong.
“We are living in a city hosting artifacts from many historical eras, and consequently, when these are viewed haphazardly, it can be confusing,” Topbaş said, adding that the plan is therefore to prepare a special historical route to facilitate an enhanced learning and viewing experience for both local tourists and those from further afield.
Over 8 million tourists visited İstanbul in 2011. Topbaş said he hopes the new project will enable everyone to appreciate the impressive historical heritage of İstanbul and that a special coded map will be prepared for the new route.