Art of the Middle East Study Tour to Istanbul
During break week (21-28 October 2019), Dr. Maryvelma O’Neil led the ISTL 1000 Art of the Middle East course on a study trip to Istanbul. Jose Murillo, computer major from Costa Rica, described the city as “a gem located between Europe and Asia, which truly merits the title of crossroads of the world.” During tutorial sessions in the hotel, Jose taught students how to digitally map major monuments, such as the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.
Ashli Sartorelli, American/Swiss psychology and photography major, credited the “fantastic tour guide” for making the culture and history of Istanbul come alive. In that spirit, she enthusiastically explored the city with classmates. “We shopped in the maze-like Grand Bazaar and indulged in a Turkish bath/massage at the famous Çemberlitaş hamam,” she said.
Students also gained first-hand knowledge about Art of the Middle East at the Archeological Museum, Kilim carpet emporium, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, and major mosques. After visiting Suleymaniye Camii, masterpiece of Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan the Great, the group enjoyed his favorite fare, kuru fasulye, plump white beans in a spiced tomato sauce at a popular restaurant nearby. At dusk the students crossed the Golden Horn by ferry to the ancient port of Kadikoy, on the Asian side of Turkey, for a group dinner at a lively local fish establishment.
The grand finale was an evening boat cruise along the Bosphorus, the Strait that made Constantinople City of the World’s Desire. Its legendary wealth was due to east-west cultural and economic exchanges. Trade and tolerance brought many peoples to the city where they co-existed in a peaceful pluralism. As Jose Murillo stated, “The mixture of cultures that have shaped Istanbul gives hope for peace among different religions today.”