This book by the outstanding specialist in the Early Christian, Byzantine and Old Russian art, N. P. Kondakov is considered as his main research. The book was written on the materials of his expedition of 1884, organized by the VI Archeological Congress on the account of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. The results of the expedition were presented at the Congress and published in the ‘Proceedings of the VI Archeological Congress’. The main task of that second to none expedition was to make a vast survey of the state of Byzantine monuments inside the walls of Constantinople, their technical description and taking measurements, photofixation, and then – summing up that material from topographical, historical, archeological, and artistic points of view; the main result was to build a whole massive of research knowledge on ecclesiastic architecture of the orthodox East, as well as on the religious, political and artistic life of the Byzantine capital.
IN the beginning of the book K. noted: ‘If we have rather exact and detailed information on palaces, walls, fortifications, porticos, and communal buildings of the Byzantine capital, our knowledge about its churches are still meager, uncertain and singular’. Although the book was written in the form of travel writing, it became an example of deep and complex interpretation of the research theme, when the ‘history of churches’ was an integral part of the history of ecclesiastic life and religious art. The author gave equal attention to the formal description of monuments, and to their comparative analysis for the sake of general conclusions. One of it was an ides – very popular after it – about the Byzantine influence at the Italian art, first of – at the Venetian art, and the enrichment of the artistic language of the later one through the contacts with Byzantium after the IV Crusade. Scholarly studies of the monuments of ‘Old Byzantium in the contemporary Istanbul’, on the K.’s opinion, were the first step to the ‘research of comparative studying the monuments of the Orthodox East and West’, which would provide the fundament for further studies in the European medieval art.