Yerebatan Sarnıcı

( Basilica Cistern )

The Basilica Cistern, or Cisterna Basilica (Greek: Βασιλική Κινστέρνα, Turkish: Yerebatan Sarnıcı or Yerebatan Saray, "Subterranean Cistern" or "Subterranean Palace"), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul, Turkey. The cistern, located 150 metres (490 ft) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I. Today it is kept with little water, for public access inside the space.

This subterranean cistern was called Basilica because it was located under a large public square, the Stoa Basilica, on the First Hill of Constantinople.[1] Prior to its construction, a great basilica stood on the spot. It had been built during the Early Roman Age between the 3rd and 4th centuries as a commercial, legal and artistic centre.[2] The basilica was reconstructed by Illus after a fire in 476.

Ancient texts indicated that the basilica cistern contained gardens surrounded by a colonnade that faced the Hagia Sophia.[2] According to ancient historians, Emperor Constantine built a structure that was later reconstructed and enlarged by Emperor Justinian after the Nika riots of 532, which devastated the city.

Historical texts claim that 7,000 slaves were involved in the construction of the cistern.[2]

The enlarged cistern provided a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings on the First Hill, and continued to provide water to the Topkapı Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and into modern times.

The existence of the cistern was eventually forgotten by all but the locals who still drew water from it until, in 1565, the French traveller Petrus Gyllius left a record of it. Gyllius recorded being rowed in between the columns and seeing fish swimming in the water beneath the boat.[3]

^ Planet, Lonely. "Basilica Cistern - Lonely Planet". ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference yerebatan was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Yale 1 Tonguç 2, Pat 1 Saffet Emre 2 (2010). Istanbul The Ultimate Guide (1st ed.). Istanbul: Boyut. pp. 54–56. ISBN 9789752307346.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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