Found project: Basilica Cistern


    Project : Basilica Cistern

    Language variant : Yerebatan Sarayi

    Architect : n/a

    Locality : Istanbul

    Country : Turkey

    Building style : Byzantine

    Project on the map (green arrow)

    Description :

    The cistern, built under Justinian’s reign, after the Nika riots (532), had been raised in the courtyard of a church. The Turks gave it the name of Yerebatan Sarayi “the Engulfed Palace”, because of its astonishing size. It is located north of the Hippodrome, near Hagia Sophia. With some exaggeration, Pierre Gilles accredits himself its “rediscovery”. He writes that the tank is still intact, and would surely be still ignored if not for his diligence of traveler. This “ignorance” of the presence of the cistern is, according to him, due to the fact that many lately built houses cover it. Gilles ascertains that some of the inhabitants are not aware of the fact that there is a cistern under them, although they daily drink water drawn from wells in their very homes. He continues by saying that having found a house through which he could access the cistern, he took place in a boat the landlord use to drive here and there, by candlelight and in the middle of a forest of largely submerged columns. He tells that while he was visiting it, his guide busied himself catching fish the cistern was abundant of, and remarks that many of those fishes were caught with a trident.

    Byzance Retrouvée, Érudits et voyageurs français (XVI-XVIII siècles), Centre d’études byzantines, neo-helléniques et sud-est européennes – EHESS Publications de la Sorbonne – Byzantina Sorbonensia, 2001, p. 59

    Ed. and transl. Adzhoa Makkonen



    Images 1-5 of 5
    Basilica Cistern
    Basilica Cistern
    Image © Heikki Hanka

    Basilica Cistern
    Basilica Cistern
    Image © Heikki Hanka

    Basilica Cistern
    Basilica Cistern
    Image © Heikki Hanka

    Basilica Cistern
    Basilica Cistern
    Image © Heikki Hanka

    Basilica Cistern
    Basilica Cistern
    Image © Heikki Hanka