Hagia Sophia and UNESCO World Heritage

Hagia Sophia © David Gill

The historic area of Istanbul was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. One of the finest structures in this part of the city is the 6th century church of Hagia Sophia that was turned into a mosque following the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Under Kemal Atatürk the building was turned into a museum emphasising the secular nature of the republic.

It is now proposed to turn the structure back into a mosque (“Hagia Sophia: Turkey delays decision on turning site into mosque“, BBC News 2 July 2020). The topic has been widely discussed in Greece (e.g. “Museum or mosque? Turkey debates iconic Hagia Sophia’s status“, ekathimerini.com 1 July 2020). France has now added its voice to the debate (e.g. “France says Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia must remain open to all“, ekathimerini.com 2 July 2020).

Athens: the Agora of Caesar and Augustus

Agora of Caesar and Augustus, Athens © David Gill

The city of Athens deserves to be explored on foot. The agora of Caesar and Augustus lies to the east of the main agora area. The monumental Doric propylon for this space still stands at the west end of the agora. The inscription shows that the gate was dedicated to Athena Archegetis; it is dated to the archonship of Nikias, i.e. 11/10 or 10/9 BC. The architectural style evokes the 5th century Athens of Perikles.

There is an open colonnade inside the propylon, some 111 m long.

Agora of Caesar and Augustus, Athens © David Gill
Agora of Caesar and Augustus, Athens © David Gill

Academic journals: Environment and Urbanization

Journal summary: This twice-yearly journal focuses on urban and environmental issues and their interconnections, with a particular emphasis on Africa, Asia and Latin America (where most of world’s urban population now lives). Founded in 1989 by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), from 2006, it has been published by Sage, in association with IIED. Each issue of the journal focuses on a particular theme and includes between 7 and 12 papers on that theme, papers responding to the themes of previous issues and, since 2007, papers on climate change and cities. Each issue also has an editorial and a Book Notes section with details of new publications. Examples of themes include: city governance and citizen action; ecological urbanization; resilient cities; community-driven mapping and enumerations; globalization and cities; chronic poverty; meeting the Millennium Development Goals in urban areas; participatory governance; violence and security; water and sanitation; sustainable cities; and rural-urban linkages. Some issues of the journal include profiles of innovative organizations and papers on participatory tools and methods.

Publisher: Sage

Website: http://eau.sagepub.com/

Access: Subscription

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

Academic journals: Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science

Journal summary: Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science is an international, multidisciplinary journal focused on the application of quantitative, computational, design and visual methods to the spatial and morphological structure of cities and regions.

Areas of methodological interest include geocomputation, spatial statistics, geographical information science, computational modelling, visualisation, agent based modelling, crowdsourcing, big data, optimisation, and urban analytics. Papers are invited that provide empirical evidence for understanding, planning or theorising how urban systems and processes emerge. It welcomes papers that show how formal models can be used to explore how cities and their elements behave, reproduce, evolve, or impact upon urban forms and functions, and on the livability, equality and sustainability of cities. Papers on topical themes such as complexity theory, smart cities, and urban science are encouraged.

Publisher: Sage

Website: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/epb

Access: Subscription; some open-access articles

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

The Walls of Norwich

The Boom Towers on Carrow Bridge
The Boom Towers by Carrow Bridge (2015)

The tour of the medieval walls of Norwich was extremely instructive. We started at the Boom Towers adjacent to Carrow Bridge. These structures allowed a chain to be raised to restrict river traffic along the Wensum (although the position of the chain and winding mechanisms was not immediately clear). The damage to the tower since 1934 can be seen quite clearly here.

Tower on south side of Norwich (2015)
The Black Tower on south side of Norwich (2015)

We climbed up the hill from the river inspecting the well preserved walls and towers along the south side. For an image of the tower in the 1930s see here.

Detail of tower on south side of Norwich (2015)
Detail of the Black Tower on south side of Norwich (2015)

Notice the wall walk and the way that the staircase is mounted into the wall.

Terminal bastion (2015)
Terminal bastion or Oak Street Tower (2015)

We crossed the river to inspect this terminal bastion adjacent to the river in the northern part of the circuit.

Further details about the medieval walls of Norwich can be found here. A photographic record of the walls can be found here.

Culture Matters in Norwich

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Norwich Castle © David Gill

Two Heads of Division representing two aspects of heritage at UCS attended the
Culture Matters conference in Norwich today. There were some passionate words from Loyd Grossman in the plenary session. We will be reflecting on some of the sessions here.