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Photographer's Note

I remember being told by our guide that the column mentioned below by Wikipedia is always wet, the mystery being that no one knows why it is so. Reading the note, I can see the connection with the tears of the 7,ooo slaves who toiled underground whilst constructing this colossal cistern.



"This cathedral-size cistern is an underground chamber approximately 138 metres (453 ft) by 64.6 metres (212 ft)[5] - 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 (middle one in the photo) 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 Justinian.

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."

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Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3569 W: 114 N: 6363] (28730)
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