With its four thousand year old history, Istanbul is one of the ancients cities considered as the cradle of the civilizations. Many communities and civilizations that had different languages and cultures spent a life time here and left thier marks such as their religious monuments and life styles on the heart of the city. Unfortunately , most of these distinctive marks are lost now, either because of earthquakes or wildfires.
Istanbul is a multilayered city where you may find some ancient tunnels and gateways underneath the the city.There,you may even see some old historic reservoirs ( cisterns) which was built to sustain the water need of people of the time. During Ottoman era, instead of using these old cisterns, they supplied the drinking water from Kemerburgaz and brought water to Taksim district where they distributed the water. That is why , Taksim district ( especially Taksim square) has still many tunnels and water reservoirs.
Did you know that Vatan Street was once a river bed? Probably not! As it is one of the widest streets of Istanbul, parades are held on this very street on offical days such as Independence Day . But it was once called Lykos River. It was flowing through the water way and ending its journey at Yenikapı once the biggest port of its time. Following the excavations here, an ancient fifteen metres long Cargo ship ,which dates back to one thousand years ago, is found.
Çemberlitaş (the obelisk in Fatih district) is one of the historical monuments from Byzantium era. During that era, they ( the crusaders ) built wide tunnels beneath the obelisk hoping to find some valuable treasure. Not so many people is aware of this waterway but it flows under the surface till Eyüp district. Almost nothing is known about this river .. Its virtually one of those things that turned into a history.
Lasty, an interesting fact… Leonardo Da Vinci desired to be the first to erect a suspension bridge over the bosphorous but unfortunately he couldn’t achieve his goal. However, Da Vinci had a high opinion of the city , especially the tunnels and the gateways beneath it. Also, a book called The Da Vinci Code was written about his life and his aspirations , and following the release of this literary work a movie was shoot as an adaptation of this book.