Basilica Cistern - What Is This Structure

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Basilica Cistern - What Is This Structure
Basilica Cistern - What Is This Structure

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Video: Viking Oceans: Istanbul's Mysterious Basilica Cistern 2022, December

The world famous Basilica Cistern belongs to the historical landmarks of Istanbul, the capital of Turkey. It is located in a quiet, dark, cool and mysterious place of the city square Ai-Meidani - the most ancient reservoir of Constantinople.

Basilica Cistern - what is this structure
Basilica Cistern - what is this structure

Istanbul residents and tourists of the country consider Ay-meidani and the Basilica Cistern an island of silence, peace and tranquility, which is a reliable protection from the summer heat, city bustle and the noise of market squares. The building, which is 10-12 meters deep, was erected on the site of the Basilica of St. Sophia, "cistern" in Greek means "reservoir", which is why the museum is called Basilica cistern.

The history of the creation of a giant reservoir

An underground giant reservoir was erected by the hands of seven thousand slaves in the 6th century AD on the site of the Cathedral of St. Sophia, which was located in the center of Constantinople. The structure was filled with water from the springs of the Belgrade forest and was of great strategic importance during the siege of the city by the conquerors. After the capture of the city by the Ottoman ruler Mehmet II, the huge reservoir was used for watering vegetation. But this did not last long. The building was forgotten and abandoned for many years.

Structural features

An ancient reservoir, in the form of a rectangle with sides of 140 and 70 meters, is located underground to a depth of twelve meters. The beautiful vaulted ceiling supports twelve rows of columns. Moreover, each row consists of 28 supporting structures. A brick wall of four meters thick impregnated with a waterproofing mixture was erected along the entire perimeter of the underground reservoir.

The Valens Aqueduct, part of the water supply system of Constantinople, served as a transport system for the supply of water to a giant reservoir with a volume of more than 100,000 tons. With the help of pipes installed at different levels in the eastern part of the reservoir, made of baked clay, water was supplied to the palace and other buildings.

The ceiling system is a vaulted cross, arched. Fired tiles were used for decoration. After the restoration work, which included cleaning the Basilica Cistern, concreting the floor, providing lighting, breeding freshwater fish, and erecting wooden decks for tourists, the amazing architectural monument of the early Byzantine era became available for viewing. The reservoir was cleared of tens of tons of age-old sediments. The water level in the tank today is about 50 cm.

Many excellent reviews from visitors who admire the unusual mysterious atmosphere of the building confirm the splendor of the underground architectural monument.

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