Underground Cistern, Istanbul by Marguerite Foxon

This is one place I always visit when in Istanbul. It is awe inspiring, beautiful, and has a sacred sense about it. The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı – “Sunken Palace”), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul, Turkey. This cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and provided a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings into modern times. This cathedral-sized cistern is an underground chamber approximately 143 metres (469 ft) by 65 metres (213 ft) – 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 spaced 4.9 metres (16 ft) apart. The cistern is surrounded by a firebrick wall with a thickness of 4 metres (13 ft) and coated with a waterproofing mortar. The cistern’s water came from 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of the city via aqueducts built by the Emperor Justinian.

Nikon D90 27mm 1/4s f/4.0 ISO 3200 (low light!!) – camera balanced on a handrail (I have a very steady hand plus a Vibration Reduction lens)
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I love macro abstract work of rejected and neglected items in our society, especially rusty old dumpsters (skips) around the back of buildings, battered boats up on dry dock, rotting wood, bark of trees, and so on. Im fascinated by the color and texture that appears with a macro lens. I do almost no post-processing after taking the shot.

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  • AuntDot
    AuntDotalmost 5 years ago

    Fabulous capture, especially in the low light. Thanks for writing about the history of this, it was very interesting!

  • Yes, I was pleased with how it came out – having a good camera always helps! Its a fascinating place.

    – Marguerite Foxon

  • Bruce Miller
    Bruce Milleralmost 5 years ago

    Niiiiice shot! They are soooooo impressive.

  • Yes, these ancient sites are awe inspiring. Amazing how they built them without all the technology we have available.

    – Marguerite Foxon

  • Thombeau
    Thombeaualmost 5 years ago

    Just wonderful!

  • Thanks very much Thombeau

    – Marguerite Foxon

  • Kevin Bergen
    Kevin Bergenalmost 5 years ago

    This is amazing, and I love your description!

  • Thanks Kevin. Yes, it is amazing what the ancients were able to do, and there is a real beauty in this place.

    – Marguerite Foxon

  • Geoff Coleman - Conceptuals
    Geoff Coleman ...almost 5 years ago

    Fascinating narrative and stunningly beautiful shot Maureen – the off-centre composition gives it real depth and the colour and lighting are perfectly exposed.

  • Well thats high praise from “the lighting guy”!! Thanks Geoff. Slip on my name noted but excused, LOL!!

    – Marguerite Foxon

  • DebraLee Wiseberg
    DebraLee Wisebergalmost 5 years ago

    Well done ..not an easy shot!


  • You said it … when they wouldnt allow me to take in my monopod I thought that would rule out a decent photo but the Nikon D90 performs well with high ISO and I am blessed with a steady hand.

    – Marguerite Foxon

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47almost 5 years ago

    I have heard of this place & am fascinated by the feat of engineering! Marvelous shot!

  • Yes,its quite impressive really. Thx.

    – Marguerite Foxon

  • Geoff Coleman - Conceptuals
    Geoff Coleman ...almost 5 years ago

    Oh dear I was rather tired last night I’m afraid Maree so I got a bit muddled :-)

  • RebeccaBlackman
    RebeccaBlackmanalmost 5 years ago

    Wonderful shot! You do get around….Rebecca

  • Thanks Rebecca. Well, I’ve been going to Turkey every year for 8 years – love the place and its a great place for unusual shots!

    – Marguerite Foxon

  • Eyal Nahmias
    Eyal Nahmiasalmost 5 years ago

    great light, perspective and color. Thanks for sharing with the Art of the Middle East group.

  • Hi Eyal – thanks for your feedback. Nice to connect with you again.

    – Marguerite Foxon

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