Sunday, 23 November 2008

Other Sultanahmet Experiences

Istanbul's Basilica Cistern

My last two posts covered two world famous sights in Sultanahmet, but there is more to this part of town, which I will try to convey in this post. This is also the area where you'll find the funky Basilica Cistern, which was part of the very advanced Byzantine water supply system. The cistern was constructed in the 6th century and forgotten during the city's decline. It was rediscovered in 1545 by a scholar who had heard reports about locals in the area who would lower their buckets down their basement floors and magically get water - and sometimes fish - back up. Now it has been restored and cool lighting provides for an interesting atmosphere.

Other than we walked around town including the old Hippodrome where chariot races used to be held. There's not much trace of that, but a couple of monuments and other stuff to look at.

One of two stone Medusas in the cistern. It is not known why it is upside down.

All the pillars in the cistern are plain except for one single decorated column with a tear drop-like design.

Egyptian obelisk brought to the city in 390 when it was already more than 1800 years old

Nitoli in front of the marble display on which the Egyptian obelisk stands. The self-congratulatory displays show Emperor Theodosius showing off in various scenarios

The Spiral Column brought here from Greece. It commemorates a Greek victory against the invading Persians

A found donated by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany hoping to forge a closer alliace with the Ottomans

The fountain still works as Nitoli demonstrates here

The street of our hotel - the building to the right. This picture was taken on a public holiday, hence all the flags

Nitoli enjoying Sultanahmet Park

Nitoli feeding the pigeons with seeds bought from the old lady on the bench

Nap time...

1 comment:

traveler one said...

Great photos again! I've been to the cisterns and I think they're incredibly special.