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Aqueduct of Valens




Atatürk Boulevard north of the Saraçhane Park, Fatih
360s-370s

The construction of a water supply system for the city of Byzantium began under Emperor Hadrian (117-138). It was expanded by Constantine the Great (306-337) and completed by Emperor Valens (364-378). That system of aqueducts and canals reached up to Thrace, being the longest in the antique world.

The water was brought to Constantinople via two lines, possibly in underground pipes, from outside lakes. The lines joined outside the walls near Edirnekapı. From there, the water was channeled along the ridges of the Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Hills, before carried across the valley between the Fourth and Third Hills by the Aqueduct of Valens. On the Third Hill, the water was received by a large cistern, the Nymphaeum Maximum, from which it was distributed to a large area, including the district of the Great Palace.

The Aqueduct of Valens features a double tier of arches (between arches 18-73). It was originally built of limestone blocks. The stones were taken from the walls of Chalcedon (today’s Kadıköy), which had been demolished after the locals rose up against Valens in 365, in support of usurper Procopius.


The aqueduct was restored by a number of emperors until Andronikos I Komnenos (1183-1185). Later restorations in the Byzantine era altered the structure, for example, by adding bricks. It was later repaired by Sultan Mehmed II, and its course was slightly bent near the Fatih Mosque, constructed in 1463-1470. Arches 52-56 were built by Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566), while arches 41-45 date from the period of Sultan Mustafa II (1695-1703). The aqueduct continued to be in use until the 19th century.


Today, 921 m of the original 971 m survive. The missing 50 m section near the Fatih Mosque was pulled down in 1912.


Görünüm: Grandeflanerie

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