Basilica Cistern & Head Of Medusa
The magnificent structure of Constantinople is the Basilica Cistern, located in the old city (Sultanahmet) next to Hagia Sophia. 1500 years old cistern, built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, is called the "Palace" among the people because of the hundreds of marble pillars rising out of the water. It was also called Basilica because there was a Basilica where the cistern is located.
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Basilica Cistern At 2022
Structure Of Basilica Cistern
The cistern is a giant underground structure covering a rectangular area of approximately 10.000 m2. It can hold approximately 100,000 tons of water. Each is 9 meters high, with a total of 336 columns, and 52 stone staircase structures. Every 4.80 meters from each other, forms 12 rows of 28 columns. Most of the columns have been collected from older buildings and carved from various types of marble, consisting of one piece and some of them consist of two pieces.
The headings shape of these columns has different features from each other. Most of the columns are cylindrical except for a few that are angular or grooved. Since some columns in the middle of the cistern were exposed to the danger of breaking during construction in 1955-1960, each of them was supported by thick concrete layers and therefore lost its old characteristics. The ceiling space of the Basilica was transferred to the columns by means of arches. Almost 5-meter-thick brick walls and the brick-tiled floor of the cistern were plastered with a thick layer of mortar and made watertight.
What İs Basilica Cistern Used For?
The cistern, which was used to irrigate the gardens of Topkapı Palace during the Ottoman period, was used to meet the water needs of the residents of the great palace and the region during the Byzantine period.
Basilica Cistern Rediscovered
After the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453, they quickly established their own water facilities and did not use stagnant drinking water. Basilica Cistern, while the Dutch traveler P. Gyllius was wandering around Hagia Sophia in the middle of the 16th century, learned that the people of the house drew water, or even drew water, with buckets they brought down from large well-like holes on the ground floors of the houses here. It was almost rediscovered and introduced to the world. P. Gyllius entered the cistern with a torch in his hand, from the walled courtyard of a wooden structure above the cistern, through the stone steps leading to the underground. Since the cistern was filled with water, P. Gyllius determined the columns by taking measurements under difficult conditions. Gyllius, who published what he saw in his travel book, influenced many travelers
Basilica Cistern Restoration
The cistern, which was repaired twice during the Ottoman period, was first renovated by Architect Mehmet Ağa during the reign of Sultan Ahmet III (1723). The second renovation is Sultan II. It was built during the reign of Abdülhamid (1876-1909). Recently (1987), after it was cleaned by the Istanbul Municipality, a sightseeing platform was established and opened to visitors as a museum. It was again undergone major cleaning and maintenance by the municipality of Istanbul in 1994. As of 2022, renovation and improvement works are carried out. The Basilica Cistern, which has been under restoration for a long time, was reopened to visitors on July 22, 2022.
Is the Basilica Cistern Opened?
The Basilica Cistern, which has been under restoration for more than a year, was opened to visitors on Friday, July 22, 2022.
Basilica Cistern Opening Hours 2022!
Working hours of the Basilica Cistern are between 09:00 in the morning and 19:00 in the evening. Visiting hours were last revised in August 2022. The Basilica Cistern is open to visitors every day of the week.