Monday, August 13, 2007

Istanbul Underground Cistern

This place was absolutely fabulous! Yerebatan Cistern is right across the street from the fabulous Haghia Sophia. The cistern was built in the 4th century by Constantine the Great and features 336 columns.

We visited on a very hot day in July, and it was such a refreshing break to stroll in the underground, dark coolness with soft classical music playing in the background. My children loved to watch the fish swimming in the water. We also enjoyed the tear-drop column (see picture below).

Here's an ancient example of recycling. Builders of the cistern took these two Medusa heads from another site and recycled them here at the base of columns. No one is very sure why one is put on her side and the other upside down. It could be be that they chose the best side to support the column above, or perhaps they put the dark goddess upside down to limit her power to harm the workers.

Finally, this might be hard to read, but here's the posted information and history regarding Yerebatan Cistern. Click on the picture and you'll get a larger view that you can actually read.

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