The fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 marked the end of the last vestiges of the Byzantine Empire (the Eastern part of the old Roman Empire).
The Ottoman Turks, who ruled over the largest empire in the world for over three hundred years, renamed Constantinople “Istanbul”, and turned its great church, Hagia Sophia, into a mosque.
Design your own Turkish rug
Handwoven rugs are a Turkish art form dating as far back as 7000 BCE. Rugs were used as blankets, and to cover walls, doorways and floors. They have also always been used as prayer mats.
Turkish rugs are usually made up of geometric patterns surrounded by a border. The patterns are symbols, and each colour that is used has a special significance.
I printed us each a piece of isometric graph paper to help us with the geometric aspect.
Field trip to Turkey
A few days after we designed our rugs we were lucky enough to visit Turkey on holiday. We went to the city of Antalya, which was once a major Byzantine city on the south coast of Turkey.
It was fun being able to pick out the symbolism in the rugs we saw.
This magnificent gate was constructed in 130 AD in honour of the Roman Emperor, Hadrian.
C(9) and J(8) remembered learning about Hadrian’s Wall when we studied Roman Britain, so seeing Hadrian’s Gate – nearly 2,500 miles away – gave them a real appreciation of the size of the Roman Empire!
Antalya was conquered by the Turks in the 13th Century. The right hand tower of Hadrian’s Gate was added by a Turkish Sultan around that time.
We are visiting Istanbul next year, so we’re looking forward to learning more about this fascinating part of the world and its history!
I’m appreciatively linking this post up here: