We decided to visit the Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı), one of two open to the public out of hundreds of cisterns in Istanbul. Most large, important Byzantine buildings provided for storage of water beneath them. The entrance to the Basilica Cistern of Istanbul is across the street from the Haghia Sophia, opposite the yellow building of the Tourist Police in Sultanahmet. This immense underground water container was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in 532 to meet the water needs of the Great Palace. The name of this subterranean structure derives from a large public square on the First Hill of Constantinople, the Stoa Basilica, beneath which it was originally constructed. Before being converted to a cistern, a great Basilica stood in its place, built between the 3rd and 4th centuries during the Early Roman Age as a commercial, legal, and artistic center. The basilica was reconstructed by Illus after a fire in 476. After cleaning and restoring the Basilica Cistern, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality opened it to the public in 1987. After descending into the underground water facility via a flight of stairs, you can take a stroll on the concrete walkways, enjoying the subdued lighting, the mysterious and beautiful forest of columns in the semi-darkness and the cool temperatures.
The Milion, was a mile-marker monument erected in the early 4th century AD in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey). It was the starting-place for measurement of distances for all the roads leading to the cities of the Byzantine Empire and had the same function as the Milliarium Aureum of Rome. The domed building of the Milion rested on 4 large arches, and it was expanded and decorated with several statues and paintings. It had survived intact, following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (1453), for about the next 50 years, but disappeared at the start of the 16th century.
They were having an exhibition of Félix Zeim at the Petit Palace and we decided to go. Starting his career in the shadow of Delacroix and ending it in Picasso's, the importance of Félix Ziem (1821-1911) in 19th century French art has too often been overlooked. Félix Ziem is an artist of the pre-impressionist generation who has a unique style inspired by the chromatic variations between the sky and the sea. His paintings of Venice and Constantinople were very successful among the collectors of the time and remain sought after icons of 19th century travel painting today. His contemporaries; Théophile Gautier, Théodore Rousseau and Chopin all held him in great esteem. An extensive traveller, friend of the Barbizon school of artists, admirer of Claude Lorrain and JMW Turner, Ziem played a unique part in the 19th century art world. At the end of his life, concerned with his legacy, Ziem had put aside a significant body of work, 171 drawings, paintings and watercolours, to donate to the brand new City of Paris Beaux-Arts Museum. Two small notes, he did not date his works, thus no dates occur in my captions and unlike my previous posts I did not include the frames because the are for the most part simple wood.