Over the last 4000 years, small ships have darted throughout the Eastern Mediterranean with oil, olives, wine, raw metals and other trading goods. Since most of these early vessels were not particularly sophisticated, the waters around Turkey are littered with shipwrecks. After a tip from local sponge divers in the 1960s, the first underwater archaeology excavations were begun along the Bodrum coast. A lot of these findings can be seen today in the Museum of Underwater Archaeology housed in the 14th century Bodrum Castle.
Posts tagged ‘Byzantine’
Last week I wrote about the incredible Basilica Cistern in the heart of the Sultanahmet, or historic center, of Istanbul. All the water needed to fill that and other cisterns in Constantinople was brought in through an extensive aqueduct network which partially survives today. The most significant portion is the Valens Aqueduct constructed by Emporer Valens in the 4th century AD. It is about 95 feet high with about a 13 foot arch span which now allows cars to drive through the Byzantine aqueduct.
How does a city surrounded by the ocean get enough fresh water to support a population of nearly half a million people? The answer for Byzantine Emperors Constantine and Justinian I was a 19km aqueduct that emptied into a massive reservoir beneath Constantinople. Today you can visit the Basilica Cistern; the entrance is about a block away from the Hagia Sophia. The cavernous pool is cool, dimly lit and a quiet retreat from the tourist commotion above. I thought it was incredibly beautiful and peaceful and spent about an hour very slowly wandering through it.