This ancient wall is located about 40 kilometers from the center of Istanbul. I have been associated with research related to this wall for the past two years. Also, there will hopefully be a documentary forthcoming about this which I am the creative consultant and chief scriptwriter. This project started by me searching on the web concerning archeological ruins in the Istanbul area. I stumbled upon a webpage concerning the Anastasian Wall (see http://www.shc.ed.ac.uk/projects/longwalls/ ). Because of my interest in Remote Sensing (interpretation of aerial photographs and satellite images) and archeology, and history, I started to investigate the area using a high resolution image and a image processing program (ERDAS). This led to starting on a documentary with a colleague of mine. After hearing about this project, some friends of mine also became fans of the Anastasian Wall. The reasearch assistants at the department “caught the bug” too and have been involved with in writing and researching for several articles and conference proceedings. I have traveled there related to the documentary, research and with students numerous times. I have also other vistaed other archaeological sites nearby in Trakya (Thrace) This formed the basis of one blog: The Anastasian Wall Research Group (http://anastasianwall.blogspot.com/) and one Facebook group-Friends of Trakya. It went beyond just research, but became a labor of love which I hope I can still manage to still be involved in after I depart.
I read all I could about early Byzantium, poured over images for hours and planned additional trips to the Wall and other sites with friends and research assistants. While I was heavy into this research, the Byzantine era became more important that current news. In fact, for me they were more interesting and exciting. I was totally absorbed into this project. Anastasius, Justinian, Procopius and Theodosia became household words with those associated with these projects. IF you are interested further more information can be found on the previously mentioned blogs. The ultimate outcome of these projects is to create a sustainable protection corridor and historic park around the Wall and have it designated a UN historical site. My hope is that others will pick up this cause and one day this will become a reality before the Wall is destroyed by suburbanization and other modern forces.
The Dogs of Istanbul
You don't see much cats, but you do see dogs. There is no lease law..well not an enforced one.. so dogs run wild here. They are all over my neighborhood. However, they are regulated by the government. The are neutered and given shots. They are happy beings as a rule. They are well fed by the neighborhoods. They form groups and sometimes take roles in protection of people that feed them and give them attention. It is interesting. A friend of mine when walking used to regularly feed a certain group of dogs. They would also be in the same area, as a rule. There were three of them...all males with one leader. The others were his flunkies and followers. He would always be the first to be allowed to eat and then they would be allowed the left overs. They would then follow us around the neighborhood like companions. Sometimes, they would follow me after I my friend had continued to his house. They went ahead , but if I slowed down they were aware and also slowed down. They often accompanied me right to the door of my apartment building. Sometimes, they were not in their territory, but they were able to placate by cowering and by other signals that I was not aware and pass without incident