Constantinople (İstanbul): Cistern of Aetius
The Cistern of Aetius today
Byzantium, renamed Constantinople,
became the capital of the Roman Empire, it soon had more inhabitants
than it could supply with the water of its wells and the little river
west of it. So, large cisterns were built. One of these was the Cistern
of Aetius, named after the praefectus
urbi who ordered its construction in 421. It measured 224 x 85
meter, was fifteen meter deep,and was not covered (unlike, for example, the Basilica Cistern
and the Topkapi
Its proximity to to the Charisius Gate, one of the main gates in
the Theodosian Land Wall, suggests that the cistern's water was meant
for the defenders.
Today, it is used for sport, but the ancient walls are still standing. They are not really worth a detour, but if you visit the Chora Church, you're very close to the Cistern of Aetius. A satellite photo can be seen here.
Jona Lendering for
Revision: 28 August 2008