Robin here. I need your feedback. I’ve had an idea and I’m excited about it. But I need you to tell me what you think of it.
I would like to go to Istanbul and spend a week there, and visit all the Byzantine sites I can. During my stay I would record material for the podcast, including my first reactions on seeing the sites. I’ve never been there before so I think that would be really fun.
Then I would create audio guides for the major sites. So that when you visit the city one day, you could have your own History of Byzantium guided tour. Not only would I talk you through what you can see, but also what you can’t. Describing the cityscape as it would have been to help immerse you in the experience.
For those who don’t want to wait I could take footage and pictures and create videos walking you around the sites. I would also create a proper map of all the Byzantine buildings and ruins that you can visit. Nothing complete seems to exist online and with only a quick trawl I’ve found nearly 50 places that I want to see.
Part of what’s motivating me is that I wish something like this had existed when I went to Rome a few years ago. There are so many pieces of the ancient world still lying around that don’t make it into mainstream guidebooks. And even if you do find them there’s no one around to tell you about their history.
If I was able to go to Istanbul I could also arrange a meet-up with any listeners who were able to travel there at the same time. We could visit the Hagia Sophia together or walk along the walls.
I did explore the idea of arranging a professional tour but there are many obstacles. And the company who ran Mike Duncan’s trips no longer operate them. Anyway, I like the idea of doing this independently and leaving it up to you to choose whether you want to be a part of it.
So please can you give me your feedback? What do you think of the idea? If I were to go to Istanbul what else could I do there? What else could I record? What would you like to hear or see? Or be a part of? Comment on this post to get a conversation going. I’m sure there are great ideas out there if we put our heads together.
If this idea is not for you, I’d still really appreciate hearing from you. To save you time I’ve created the poll above. It’s just one question to gauge your level of enthusiasm. It will only take 10 seconds and it would be hugely helpful.
Thank you for taking time out to help me with this. If things go well then we’re talking about a visit sometime in 2018. So there’s plenty of time to go but any thoughts or reactions to the idea are needed now. I’ll keep you updated.
I might have missed something in this thread, but is there any thought yet about when this event will happen? Oxford shuts down March 10 – April 22 and I want to do some traveling. In fact, I’d be interested in finding another history buff out there who might be interested in traveling with me (I’m on sabbatical but my friends are not!). In addition to Istanbul and, possibly, other places in Turkey, I’d like to get to Italy–like Pompeii, Herculaneum–Sicilly, and Malta. Alternatively (or, ambitiously, in addition) I’d like to get back to Ravenna, which is more Byzantine than Byzantium. I’ve been there three times and can’t get enough of it.
BTW I’m right now in a class on the Ante-Nicene Fathers, and about to start going to a seminar on patristics. Oxford is fantastic!!!
I really missed a guide to byzantine sites when I was there 2 years ago. It would’ve been great to have had a “byzantine” audioguide walking through the streets of Constantinople, especially for the minor sites not cited in guidebooks. Mosaics museum was great by the way.
Excellent idea! can’t wait for your footage 🙂 It should be such a thrilling experience for you after investing so much time and effort in this podcast (huge fan here). I am sure we will all learn a lot from your visit there. Are you gonna run a fundraising for it?
I explored quite a few byzantine sites myself when I was there. The mosaics at Chora and Pamakaristos are of the most exquisite quality and the underground cisterns are not a sight to be missed….and god those walls, standing in front of Saint Romanos gate and thinking of whole thing in 1453 gave me goosebumps! My family are greeks of Istanbul so I couldn’t help myself imagining my ancestors on the ramparts :-p
Best wishes for a lovely trip 🙂 and will be looking forward for any footage.