28 11 2009
#2394

The Cistern


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This immense man-made underground cistern, 410 feet long by 210 feet wide, was built by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great in the Fourth Century AD and later enlarged by Emperor Justinian in the 450s. It provided water for the Great Palace of Constantinople—during Byzantine times located near the site of the current Blue Mosque—and to the nearby Topkapi Palace during the Ottoman Era. Its ceiling is held up by 336 thirty-foot high marble pillars in twelve rows of twenty-eight columns each. Water was piped into the cistern via an aqueduct built during the reign of Emperor Justinian from the Belgrade Forest some twelve miles away. When full the cistern could hold up to 27 million gallons of water. According to one account the cistern fell into disuse towards the end of Ottoman times and amazingly enough its existence was completely forgotten, even though it was located in the heart of Istanbul and thousands walked right over its ceiling every day. It was rediscovered in the twentieth century and occasionally used for special events like the James Bond flick. After repairs and renovation it was opened as a tourist attraction in 1987.

.......There may be some out there who view the Cistern as an entrance to Agharta, the underground Kingdom described by Marquis Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre and Ferdinand Ossendowski.

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