Photographer's Note

This is the Basilica Cistern, (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı - "Sunken Palace", or Yerebatan Sarnıcı - "Sunken Cistern") an extraordinary underground "palace", that dates back from the early years of the Byzantine empire and is the largest surving byzantine cistern in Istanbul.

It was built by Emperor Justinian in 532, when Istanbul was still Constantinoupolis- Constantinople. Its roof is 65m wide and 143m long. It is supported by 336 columns (some of them quite "weird", two of them supported by blocks carved into Medusa heads, probably from ancient greek temples, and another one with a teardrop design) in 12 rows. The water was coming from a reservoir near the Black Sea, via 20 km of acueducts.

The Cistern was hidden and forgotten for many centuries, until a scholar named Petrus Gillius, who had come to Istanbul in 1545, searching for byzantine antiquities, "re-discovered" it. After two restorations, one in the 18th century, and a second one between 1955 and 1960 and a renovation and cleaning in 1985, it is open to the public since 1987.

*WORKSHOP 1* : B&w version

*WORKSHOP 2* : Horizontal version, from the opposite side.


Istanbul-2010 Cultural Capital of Europe
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Additional Photos by Hercules Milas (Cretense) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5327 W: 74 N: 16998] (68709)
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