Friday, April 16, 2010

Yerebatan Sarnici

Looking for a Quick 30 minute tour through history while in Istanbul, Turkey.
Then this is a "Must Do". Take out 10.00 Turkish Lira & descend into the cistern.
The cistern is vast, about the size of 2 football fields & can hold 27 million gallons of fresh water, Clay pipes and aqueducts carried water to this location for years. Unfortunately, the pipes became clogged the cistern became neglected and locals actually forgot the cistern was here over time. This is hard to imagine considering just how huge it is.
336 columns supports the amazing brick ceiling, Although most were recycled Roman ruins.
(Hubby & I called this Roman Junk, it's laying around everywhere)
You walk through the cisterns on platforms that were built over 2 decades ago, so you can enjoy all the sights & sounds of this slippery historical vision. Before the platforms were built, the only way you could see the cistern was by renting a boat & paddling
around in the dark.
I apologize to you all who are viewing this, There isn't any way my camera can do justice to the beauty of the cistern. It's hard to believe what you actually see is just a fraction of the amount of water that used to be stored in this cistern.

For those of you who are James Bond fans:
This cistern was used in "From Russia with Love"

The above was my favorite column, it's called the Tear Drop Column.
Don't be surprised if you get smacked in the head with droplets of water, Rain water still trickles down in cracks thru the ceiling!
Make sure you go all the way to the back & find the 2 Medusa heads lying on the ground. There are several different theories why these heads have been placed here: According to Rick Steves' Istanbul: It states, In Roman times Medusa was known as a protector of temples. Mythological gorgon-with hair made of snakes and a gaze that could turn people to stone. Medusa was also often carved into tombstones or cemetery walls to scare off grave robbers. When Christianity took hold, Medusas was a reminder of the not-so-distant Roman persecution of Christians, So it may be no coincidence that these pagan fragments were left here in the dark corner of the cistern, never to see daylight again.

Another Myth basically states that the architect simply needed a proper base to raise the two small columns to the ceiling height & the Medusas were a perfect fit!

I'm not sure which one is true but this is truly a sight to behold, nonetheless!

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Fort Worth, Texas, United States