Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Theodocian Walls, Hippodrome, and Underground Cistern

Today, we definitely hit the ground running!!
The Theodosian Walls were an awe-inspiring structure which connected the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn (a distance of more than 4 miles!).  In the Yedikule Fortress (where we walked and explored today, which is the southern section of the Theodosian walls), the Golden Gate stood as the entrance into the fortress. Theses walls have been inhabited from the time it was built until the 19th century with a variety of different uses such as a fortress to a dungeon to a girl's school and finally a tourist attraction.  
During the Hippodrome visit, we noticed that almost nothing is left from the original Hippodrome stadium due to the Ottoman conquest where they destroyed it because it lead to gambling, which is against their Orthodox Muslim religion.  In it's place stand a few interesting artifacts that the Ottomans built from the material of the stadium. The Egyptian Obelisk, brought to Constantinople from Egypt by Constantine, was built over 3000 years ago! This fact is astounding because there is nothing like this in the United States.  The Serpentine Column, shipped from Delphi, dates back to 479BC! It's just amazing to see pieces of history that date back so far in time standing right before us.  Finally, the Column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus marks the end of the racetrack of the Hippodrome.
The Underground Cistern, our last stop of the day, was never supposed to be seen by people as the water went all the way to the ceiling.  In it lies two Medusa heads and three differently patterned columns which were all from other destroyed buildings.  Once again, we noticed that materials from old buildings were reused to make new buildings throughout history.  At that time, with the water all the way to the ceiling and the sections that weren't blocked off like it is today, the amount of water alone would have been enough to support the poeple of the city for a year!
Today was jam packed with so much interesting information! I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings! :)

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