Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Cibali, Fatih - İstanbul Turkey

GPS : 41°01'26.3"N 28°57'35.0"E / 41.023972, 28.959722

 photo cibali_cistern107.jpg


Kadir Has University is waiting for municipal consent to start restoration and conservation of the Cibali Cistern under its campus by the Golden Horn. University Rector Mustafa Aydın says the historical structure will serve as another story for the Rezan Has Museum that sits on its upper floor

Dating back to the 11th century, the Cibali Cistern bears an eclectic architectural design because the columns were brought from other structures dating back to later times. The cistern consists of 48 domes and 20 columns. "The archaeologists can discern which piece comes from which century by examining the way the brickwork is laid," Kadir Has University Rector said.  The excavation work consists of uncovering the soil that was dumped on the ground in the following century after the structure stopped functioning as a cistern.

One of these cisterns was built on the area that is now under our school, Kadir Has University. This ancient cistern was built during the Byzantine Era. The cistern was first discovered in 1944 by the Archeological Museum in an excavation. According to academical research by the Istanbul Archeology Museum, it belongs to the 7th century. This academical research was done when this building was being used as Tekel.

However, over the years as the factory expanded and more space was required, and although not officially documented, we can conclude that some reconstruction took place and some of the air ventilation ducts were shut down and other annex buildings were constructed on this site. When the factory finally closed down in 1994 everything was left as it was and no renovation work was carried out. The government then sold the building to a private investor, Kadir Has.

The Has Foundation then began its renovations works and in February 22, 2005 opened their Faculty of Fine Arts. The University’s present car park area sits above the old cistern, it is assumed that when the Tekel factory was built its foundation works covered the whole area thus closing down the air vents and ducts of the cisterns.

It is believed that the ventilation ducts were closed many many years before and the area was used for a different purpose, thus the Has Foundation, when building the campus site, kept the area clear of buildings for future consideration of any re-excavation works that may take place and reserved the area for a car park.

Today, it has been restored with the name of Rezan Has Golden Horn Cultural Museum. In fact, at the moment you enter the cistern, you can feel yourself as if you are living those ancient times, no matter how decrepit it is.

The Rezan Has Golden Horn Cultural Museum documents the rich daily-life of the Golden Horn hidden in its historical texture. It consists of a 48-pillar Byzantine water cistern which is still being restored. The features of the cistern inside the Rezan Has Golden Horn Cultural Museum are its reflections of the Byzantine Era. The very first pillar in the entrance has the motif of leaves and other pillars have the design of the Cross.

These pillars are not in one significant shape and size. They are all different from each other, and because of that historians and archeologists consider that these pillars were taken from parts of other structures. However, as in most of the other cisterns in Istanbul, the Rezan Has cistern also has a parallel pillar design, both horizontally and vertically.

Some corridors have been closed off with bricks. There is a myth about these closed corridors. It is said that the corridors went all the way to Hagia Sophia. The length of the tunnel was believed to start from Cibali and to end at Eminönü.

There is an Ottoman hamam right above, which are exhibiting in the Rezan Has Museum. The hamam dates back to the early 17th century, its makers probably wanted to benefit from the water storage area and therefore they built it on top of the cistern. In the early 19th century, a tobacco factory was built on the asset that was closed in 1970. After the closing, the tobacco factory burned down, later to be taken over and restored by the university, which is entitled to use the asset for 49 years.

After the conquest of Istanbul, it began to be used as a Turkish Bath. The hammam parts were found after some hard work of excavations. According to research the hammam belongs to the 12 th  Century. Historical writings show us that this storage was also used by the workers and soldiers as a shelter before the eve of the Republic being formed during the war years.

Just beside the cistern are remainders of hammam that were left over from the 16th century. This hammam was restored by Dr. Mehmet Alper, who is an architect. The restoration studies of the cistern still continue and it will take at least two years to be opened to the public as a museum. However, being a student or a lecturer at the Kadir Has university gives one an advantage of veiwing the restoration works and the cistern before they are officially opened to the public.

The museum is positioned around this Turkish Bath and the cistern. In the main exhibition hall of the historical structure consisting of 15 columns, many works by explorers, artists and literarians who have investigated the Golden Horn and the daily life of the Golden Horn will be exhibited, supported by documents and academic research. This cistern that witnessed both the Byzantine and the Ottoman era is being awakened from its deep sleep and turned into a museum without touching its historical texture.  


WEB SITE : Kadir Has University Cibali Campus

E-Mail : danisma@khas.edu.tr
Phone : +90 212 533 6532
Fax : +90 212 533 6515

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