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CAPPADOCIA’S ROCK-CUT COURTYARD COMPLEXES: A CASE STUDY FOR DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE IN BYZANTIUM

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Until recently, our knowledge of the Byzantine house has been severely limited by the paucity of available evidence. In the last few years, however, surveys have been conducted in Cappadocia, central Turkey, where archaeologists and art historians working at separate sites recently realised that places formerly understood to be monasteries were actually domestic complexes of the rural elite.1 High above the Peristrema Valley in western Cappadocia, a medieval estate known as Selime Kalesi extends over 100 m in length along a cliff of volcanic rock. Once thought to be a monastery, this too is now recognised as one of a number of aristocratic domestic residences that provide our first extensive information about the Byzantine house. Selime Kalesi is the largest and most elaborate example in design and decoration of over a dozen similarly designed residences that belong to the same settlement. This especially prominent site offers an excellent case study for examining Byzantine domestic architecture and secular use of space.2

10.1163/22134522-90000071
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2006-01-01
2016-12-05

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