SİNOP - Anadolu Agency
The icons, which are being displayed on the walls of the Sinop Archaeology Museum, are some of the oldest icons of Christianity and they are priceless now, according to Sinop Culture and Tourism Director Hikmet Tosun.
The icons, which are on display at the Sinop Archaeology Museum, draw great interest from tourists.
Sinop Culture and Tourism Director Hikmet Tosun said the northern province of Sinop was one of the important stops for cruise tourism and has received some 100,000 tourists from the United States, Britain, Israel, Germany, Norway and Sweden over the last five years.
He said tourists visit historical and touristic places in the city and that among those places are the historical Sinop Prison and the Sinop Archaeology Museum.
Tosun said that the museum displayed some of the oldest icons of Christianity and tourists become quite surprised when seeing them. “This is why especially foreigners show great interests in the museum,” he said.
Tosun said the icons, which are estimated to have survived from the 19th century churches in Sinop and the surrounding areas, had been kept at the Sinop Archaeology Museum, adding, “The icons, some of which were made by plastering the panels made of chestnut trees using various paints and gilts, are some of the oldest icons of Christianity and they are priceless now.”
He said the meaning of the icons was paintings depicting religious events and that their roots dated back to the Byzantine era.
An art école
“In the beginning, icons did not have artistic value, but through time, they have developed and become common in other societies, turning into an art école and unchangeable part of religious culture. It is Orthodox
people, who supported the icons and gave place to them in churches. Sinop Balatlar Church and the Saint Phocas Church are the oldest centers where Christianity spread in the Black Sea.
Findings unearthed during excavations that the Brits carried out at the St. Phocas Church in the Sinop Çiftlik village between 1994 and 1997, as well as the ongoing excavations at the Sinop Balatlar Church since 2010 with the decision of the Council of Ministers verify this fact,” Tosun explained.
Sinop Archaeology Museum is home to a rich icon collection depicting Christ, angels, Mary and saints, bearing the features of the Byzantine artistic style; pieces from the Prehistoric period. In addition to the icons, there are various coins belonging to the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman periods are all among the displayed items.
The museum was among six Turkish museums that have announced their candidacies for the 2010 European Museum of the Year Award, organized annually by the European Museum Forum under the auspices of the Council of Europe.