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TYPE OF PRINT: Steel engraving
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ARTIST - PUBLISHER: Thomas Allom - Fisher, Son & Co., London
CONDITION: Excellent. Printed on heavier paper.
OVERALL DIMENSIONS of print including blank margins (not shown) 8 x 10 1/2, image dimensions (shown in the photo): 5 x 7 1/4 inches. 1 inch = 2,54 cm

DESCRIPTION of the subject depicted (from the original source): " . . . by means of this aqueduct, the waters were deposited in various cisterns; some open, and some covered, so that the whole city was excavated into exposed or subterranean reservoirs. One great inconvenience attended those that were exposed . . . Of the covered cisterns, but two remain. One is called Yere Batan Serai or the " Subterranean palace," and is still filled with water. It resembles a vast subterranean lake, out of which issue rows of 336 marble pillars, of various orders of architecture, supporting an arched roof. The memory of this magnificent watering-palace was altogether lost; the streets passed over it, and the houses above were supplied from it with water, while the inhabitants knew not whence it came. After it had remained unknown to the Turks since the capture of Constantinople, it was discovered by Gilius more than three hundred years ago. The second cistern is no longer employed as a reservoir for water.

It lies beneath an open area in the vicinity of the Atmeidan, and is converted into a silk manufactory by a number of industrious Jews and Armenians. The Turks have named this subterranean palace Bin-bir-derek, in allusion to its supposed original number of columns, 1001, although 212 are all that can now be distinguished. Each column is said to consist of three shafts with their respective capitals, but the lowest is, at present, buried beneath the material of the flooring. The whole enclosed area occupies 20,000 square feet, and is capable of containing 1,237,000 cubic feet of water, a quantity sufficient to supply the population of Constantinople for fifteen days. The pillars of this cistern are distinguished by monograms deeply cut on the shafts and capitals,. like hieroglyphics on an Egyptian obelisk, and so obscure as equally to puzzle the learned. One of them consists of the Greek initials for Euge philoxene, "Hail, thou strangers' friend." This cistern, under the Greek empire, was decreed to be public for the use of all strangers, and was therefore called philoxenos.

CONSTANTINOPLE Turkey Underground Cistern of Bin Bir Derek Istanbul - 1840 Antique Print by Thomas Allom


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