©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project

Bogdan Sarayi

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Bogdan Sarayi

Plan Type:
Single Nave
Year of Costruction:
13th - 14th c.
Investigation Method:
Survey Excavation

Kasim Gürani Mah.
Antique Name:


Location: It is located on the Cepken Street, the main street of the Draman Neighbourhood of the Fatih District in Istanbul.
Geography and Environment: With restricted information from the Byzantine Period, it was a property of the Moldovian hospadors, who had their own settlements on a big land under the name Hagios Nikolaos after the conquest of Constaninople by the Ottomans [Müller-Wiener 2001:108]. No evidence was found for any conversion into a mosque in the Ottoman Period, during which it is known that it was encircled by high walls. 120 m to the southwest stands the Kefeli Masjid dating from the 9th century; 280 m to the southwest are the ruins of the Odalar Mosque dating from the 13th century; and 290 m to the east is the Fethiye Mosque (the Church of Pammakaristos).
Research and Excavation: It was excavated in 1918, and found out by Schweinfurth that it was a two-storey building [Eyice 1980:44].
Description: Building Phases: It appears that it was built during the 13th or 14th centuries. The chapel was owned by the Moldavian hospadors, who preferred the surroundings of the modern Draman for settling during the 16th century. In the 17th century, the chapel and its neighbor, the Palace of Bogdan (Moldavia) were rented to the foreign embassies in Istanbul. During the second half of the 18th century, it became a property of the Monastery of St. Panteleimon at the Holy Mount Athos. Damaged from a fire in 1784, it became out of use since then [Müller-Wiener 2001]. In 1930s, the upper storey was brought down, and the destruction was faster after 1950s. Architectural Features: Unlike churches, the chapel lies in the north-south direction, not in the west-east direction. The traces on the lateral walls indicate that it was part of a complex. Built as a private chapel or a tomb with two-storey, the lower storey is a single nave structure with a length of 8.8 m, and a width of 3.7 m, covered by a barrel vault, which terminates with an apse. The apse is pentagonal on the outside, and circular on the inside, rising up to the level of the roof. The three fronts in the middle are decorated with long and blind niches, and there is a small window only in the middle front. The three sarcophagi in the section where the light penetrates through a single window in the apse reveal that the lower level was, in fact, a crypt [Eyice 1980]. The same plan is repeated in the upper level, but it is surmounted by a dome without a drum. The chapel was erected with courses of regular stones and bricks. One course of four stones alternates with four courses of brick bonds. However, only the four courses is observed although it consists of seven courses of bricks as the recessed brick technique was employed. The upper level is lighted by one windows piercing each longer side [Eyice 1980:43-45, pl. 71-76; Mathews 1976:36, pics. 7.1-7.5; van Millingen 1974:280-286, pic. 98].
Finds: J.B. Papadopoulos mentions three sarcophagi in the crypt of the chapel [Papadopoulos 1920].
Interpretation: W. Müller-Wiener indicates that it might have been part of the Prodromos Monastery as a burial chapel of the building [Müller-Wiener 2001:108]. A. van Millingen suggests that the original roofing might have been of wood [van Millingen 1974:280-287]. S. Eyice also suggests that the dome was not the original roofing, and it was added later on [Eyice 1980:44]. The direction arrow on the drawing of the chapel made by Semavi Eyice in 1980, wrongfully points out to the west.
Destruction: The chapel where heavy destruction is observed is currently being used as tire service shop. The machines were installed and the tires were piled up on the walls as well. The collapsed parts of the walls were filled with bricks and concrete. There is also a concrete cottage built on the northwest corner [TAYEx 13.09.2008].

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