It is still cold outside. Today it snowed a little here in Bahçeköy. I paid a visit to the local veterinary to buy my lovely cats some food, especially for Nairo who has urinary problems. I took a few photos along the way.
The Aqueduct of Bahçeköy is built in 4th century by Romans. It was damaged and partly destroyed in the 7th century by the barbaric tribes. The Ottoman sultan Suleiman (the magnificent) restored the aqueduct in the 16th century. Then it was partly rebuilt by the Ottoman sultan Ahmed III. Then it was rebuilt again during the reign of Sultan Mahmud I (1730-1754).
In 1900, during the reign of Abdul Hamid II, its capacity was improved.
During the Byzantine era, it was carrying water to the Basilica Cistern, which was constructed by Justinianus I, the Byzantium Emperor (527-565), from a distance around 19 km (11.8 mi).
The aqueduct of Bahçeköy was mentioned in the 1838 book titled “The beauties of the Bosphorus“ of British artist William Henry Bartlett (March 26, 1809 – September 13, 1854). The section was titled “The Aqueduct of Baghtchè-keui”. From the book:
The Aqueduct of Baghtchè-keui
Allusion has already made to this fine old aqueduct, which spans the beautiful meadow above Buyukdèrè with its lofty arches. The view from it is singularly lovely, and very extensive; valley and mountain, land and water, waste and forest, are spread out on all sides in noble combination; while the deep stillness of the spot gives a sublimity to the landscape which must be felt to be understood.
There is a season called by the Turks Patlinkjam Melktem*, a time in autumn remarkable for producing a particular species of gourd, when a north-east wind invariably sets in, and the Black Sea, violently driven against the western shore, sends forth a low and solemn moaning the continuous voice of human agony. The efect of this awful diapason from the aqueduct of Baghtchè-keui is thrilling, -one long wail of woe fills the air- while the wild waves, hurled against the rocks at the mouth of the Bosphorus, carry upon their crests the foaming banner of destruction, warning from their vicinage the daring bark which would essay the entrance of Boghaz. At this period dense bags of fog are packed against the rocks, and the whole line of coast presents one mass of heavy uniform obscurity; rendering a passage, at all times sufficiently perilous, almost impossible: the entrance is flanked by two bold and abrupt promontories, crowned with light-houses, and known as the Phanaraki points. A small village is situated near each of these beacon-towers: and at no great distance stand two of the channel-fortresses, strikingly defined against the dark green rocks on which they are built.
Between the two promontories, but considerably on the European side of the Boghaz, stands one of the Symplegades**; the other is at a considerable distance, quite within the Euxine, and very close to the shore. Dr. Walsh, who visited this latter, gives the following very graphic and interesting account of it:
“We landed with some difficulty, the great swell rising nearly half way up the rock, and threatening to throw our light skiff on the ledge of some precipice. It stands about half a mile from the light-house point of the European shore, just within the Black Sea. It consists of a rocky eminence, twenty or thirty yards in height, and two or three hundred in circumference. On the summit is a very beautiful circular pedestal of pure white marble and fine sculpture. It is four feet three inches in height, and two feet seven inches in diameter; round it is a rich festoon of flowers, supported on bulls’ heads, with stars between the folds. It is of superior workmanship, and seems to have been sculptured at an era when the arts were cultivated; but of its origin, date, or name, there is nothing certain; even its shape is not agreed on. The Byzantine historian, Dionysius, says the Romans erected a fane on this rock, and hence it is called ‘the Altar.’ Whatever might have been its original destination, it was latterly appropriated to another use; this is the opinion of Gillius, who saw it in 1545. There stood upon it a Corinthian column, and the monument obtained the name of – ‘Pompey’s Pillar,’ by which it is sometimes known. There was a vague tradition that he had erected it after his victory over Mithridates, whose kingdom of Pontus was close beside, on the coast of Asia, He named a city on the coast, built by that monarch, ‘ Pompeiopolis’; but there is no historical record of erecting a column; and Pompey has lost the reputation of this pillar, as well as of that at Alexandria, which it now appears was raised to Dioclesian. When Tournefort visited the rock in 1700, he saw the pillar, twelve feet in length, but it has now disappeared. On the summit of the pedestal which remains, are four square apertures sunk into it, and they seem to have been intended to fasten on the top some other object. There is now no inscription, or trace of it, except some modern scribbling of travelers who have visited the spot; the earliest I could find was dated 1623. This beautiful piece
of sculpture, on the summit of so remote and solitary a rock, is a very striking object, and strongly contrasted with the rude wildness of every thing about it.”
“The substance of which the rock is formed seems an extraordinary composition. It is a kind of breccia, of various coloured lava, trap, basalt, and limestone, intersected by veins of agate, or chalcedony, of considerable extent. It seems, in fact, an agglomeration of heterogeneous substances, fused together by the action of intense fire. But the colour most predominant is blue or dark green, arising from the presence of some metallic oxide. This has conferred upon the rocks their comparatively modern name: when they were no longer an object of terror, and ceased to crush ships between them, they lost their first appellation, and were called from their hue, Cyanean, a property which remains to this day.”
In a season of storm, such as we have endeavored to describe, the ear of the wanderer lingering at Baghtchè-Keui is more thralled than the eye; for it is only when the lightning shimmers for an instant on the foam-crested waves by which the rocks are girdled, that the sublimity of the scene can be discerned, – when the “vexed Symplegades” are battling with the billows, and the dark
coast casts back the watery charge with a moan of thunder, as though it mourned over the devastation which might be borne onward upon the wild and reckless storm-waves. The aqueduct should be visited at a more genial season, for its wide sweep of prospect to be fully enjoyed.
* Patlinkjam Melktem – in fact, it is “Patlıcan meltemi”, English: aubergine (eggplant) breeze.
** The Symplegades or Clashing Rocks, also known as the Cyanean Rocks, were, according to Greek mythology, a pair of rocks at the Bosphorus that clashed together when somebody went through. They were defeated by Jason and the Argonauts, who would have been lost and killed by the rocks except for Phineus’ advice. Jason let a dove fly between the rocks; it lost only its tail feathers. The Argonauts rowed mightily to get through and lost only part of the stern ornament. After that, the Symplegades stopped moving permanently.