joi, ianuarie 15, 2009
This underground structure was known as the “Basilica Cistern” as its was built underneath the Stoa Basilica, a large public square on the First Hill of Constantinople. According to ancient historians, Emperor Constantine had already constructed a structure, which was rebuilt and enlarged by Emperor Justinian after the Nika riots of 532. It provided water for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings on the First Hill, and continued to provide water to the Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and into modern times.
The bases of two of the columns reuse earlier blocks carved with the head of a Medusa. They are located in the northwest corner of the cistern. The origin of the two heads is unknown, though it is rumoured that the heads were brought to the cistern after being removed from an antique building of the late Roman period. Another mystery is why one of the heads is upside down, while the other is tilted to one side. It is commonly accepted by scientists that they were placed that way deliberately.