İstanbul’un Eminönü ilçesinde Ayasofya’nın yanında bulunan Yerebatan Sarnıcı,
İmparator I. İustinianos tarafından 6 yy.da yapılmıştır. Şehrin su ihtiyacını karşılamak
maksadıyla inşa edilen sarnıç, 138 metre uzunluğa ve 64,6 metre genişliğe sahiptir.
Sarnıçta toplam 336 mermer sütun kullanılmış, bu sütunlar estetik açıdan güçlü sütun
başlıkları ve kemerlerle desteklenmiştir. Tavan örtüsünde kullanılan tonozlar, Manastır
Tonozu olarak bilinen tonozlardan olup, bu tonozlar kalıp kullanılmaksızın örülmüştür.
3.5 metre genişliğe sahip sarnıç duvarları ise su geçirmez özel bir harç ile sıvanarak,
Bugün kalabalık bir mekânın ortasında bulunan Yerebatan Sarnıcı’nın üstünde ilk
zamanlar taş döşemeli bir meydan bulunurken; bu meydan Bizans zamanında başlayan
ve Osmanlı zamanında devam eden yapılaşma ile bozulmuştur. Buraya yerleşen halk,
sarnıcın tavan örtüsünü meydana getiren tonozlardan delikler açarak sarnıçtan su çekmiş
ve bu şekilde günlük su ihtiyacını karşılamıştır. 1940 yılında belediye tarafından sarnıcın
üst kısmındaki bazı yapılar istimlâk edilerek; sarnıcın girişine muntazam bir bina inşa
edilmiştir. 1985–1988 yılları arası kapsamlı bir temizliğe ve onarıma tabi tutulan sarnıcın
içindeki kirli su, tonlarca çamur birikintisi temizlenmiş ve gezi platformu inşa edilmiştir.
Bu temizlikten sonra sarnıcın güneybatı köşesindeki sütunların, kısa gelen gövdelerini
yükseltmek için altlarına ilk çağlardan kalan mermer bir anıtın parçaları konulduğu
görülmüştür. Medusa veya Gorgon başları olarak bilinen geç antik çağdan kalan bu
eserlerin neden ve ne maksatla buraya getirildiği tam olarak bilinmemektedir.
The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı - "Sunken Palace", or Yerebatan Sarnıcı -
"Sunken Cistern"), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the
city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), Turkey. The cistern, located 500 feet (150 m)
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.
The name of this subterranean structure derives from a large public square on the
First Hill of Constantinople, the Stoa Basilica, beneath which it was originally constructed.
Before being converted to a cistern, a great Basilica stood in its place, built between the 3rd
and 4th centuries during the Early Roman Age as a commercial, legal and artistic centre.
The basilica was reconstructed by Ilius after a fire in 476.
Ancient texts indicated that the basilica contained gardens, surrounded by a colonnade and
facing the Hagia Sophia. According to ancient historians, Emperor Constantine built a
structure that was later rebuilt 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.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 Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and into modern times.
This cathedral-size cistern is an underground chamber approximately 138 metres (453 ft)
by 64.6 metres (212 ft) - about 9,800 square metres (105,000 sq ft) in area - capable
of holding 80,000 cubic metres (2,800,000 cu ft) of water. The ceiling is supported by a
forest of 336 marble columns, each 9 metres (30 ft) high, arranged in 12 rows of 28
columns each spaced 4.9 metres (16 ft) apart. The capitals of the columns are mainly
Ionic and Corinthian styles, with the exception of a few Doric style with no engravings.
One of the columns is engraved with raised pictures of a Hen's Eye, slanted braches,
and tears. This column resembles the columns of the Triumphal Arch of Theodosius
I from the 4th century (AD 379-395), erected in the 'Forum Tauri' Square. Ancient texts
suggest that the tears on the column pay tribute to the hundreds of slaves who died
during the construction of the Basilica Cistern. The majority of the columns in the cistern
appear to have been recycled from the ruins of older buildings (a process called 'spoliation'),
likely brought to Constantinople from various parts of the empire, together with those that
were used in the construction of Hagia Sophia. They are carved and engraved out of various
types of marble and granite.
Fifty-two stone steps descend into the entrance of the cistern. The cistern is surrounded by
a firebrick wall with a thickness of 4 metres (13 ft) and coated with a waterproofing
mortar. The Basilica Cistern's water came from the Eğrikapı Water Distribution
Center in the Belgrade Forest, which lie 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of the city. It
traveled through the 971 metres (3,186 ft)-long Valens (Bozdoğan) Aqueduct, and the
115.45 metres (378.8 ft)-long Mağlova Aqueduct, which was built by the Emperor
The cistern has the capacity to store 100,000 tons of water, despite being virtually empty
today with only a few feet of water lining the bottom.
The weight of the cistern lies on the columns by means of the cross-shaped vaults and
round arches of its roof.
The Basilica Cistern has undergone several restorations since its foundation. The first of
the repairs were carried out twice during the Ottoman State in the 18th century during the
reign of Ahmed III in 1723 by the architect Muhammad Agha of Kayseri. The second
major repair was completed during the 19th century during the reign of Sultan
Abdulhamid II (1876–1909). Cracks to masonry and damaged columns were repaired in
1968, with additional restoration in 1985 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Museum.
During the 1985 restoration, 50,000 tons of mud were removed from the cisterns,
and a platforms built throughout to replace the boats once used to tour the cistern.
The cistern was opened to the public in its current condition on 9 September 1987. In
May 1994, the cistern underwent additional cleaning.
Origin Wikipedia ..