11 Aralık 2013 Çarşamba

The Ottoman Fountains Of Istanbul

III. Ahmed Fountain

At the beginning of the 20th century there were some 1,600 fountains in Istanbul and 100 years later there were only 400. Once their function was gone, neglect set in.

At the head of a street in Cihangir is a small fountain. For years it was a decrepit, rundown, vine-clad ruin. Then one day there was a ribbon around it and workers busy cleaning it. Today it has returned to its original state although no water flows from it.

It has a date of 1055 A.H. (1645-46) and the person who built it was named Ahmed Pasa. This must have been Tarhuncu Ahmed Pasa who served as a grand vizier under Sultan Mehmet IV. He is honored as a reformer for having done his best to put Ottoman finances on a better basis and his ability to “persuade” the wealthy to give up some properties and money they had taken illegally from the state. The repairs were carried out by the owner of a new apart-otel that was being constructed nearby out of an old apartment building and street front stores.

Water is of particular importance in Islam because it was required that before prayers, one has to purify oneself. Moreover it isn’t just any water. It has to be running water.

During Ottoman times, Istanbul was not blessed with a water system that delivered it right to your doorstep with the exception of the wealthiest people. The city does have quite a few underground springs and wells that are fed by rain water. The Ottomans took advantage of the aqueduct system that originated with the Romans and expanded it. Mimar Sinan is less well known for his contributions to the aqueduct system than he is for his magnificent mosques but he did much to repair and extend what was already in place in the 17th century.

Well-to-do Muslims built structures as a way of giving alms or performing good deeds for society. As water plays such an important and symbolic role in Islam, many built fountains to provide running water to areas that had no water. Hence there is the small fountain on Kazanci Yokusu in Cihangir. Generally, a poetic inscription giving the date and name of the person who had commissioned the fountain is visible somewhere on it – usually above the faucet, honoring the benevolent patrons. It is possible that these fountains have been neglected because the inscriptions that occur on almost all fountains are in Ottoman script that only a very few people can read.

Local life centered on the local fountains. Women would come to collect water for their houses but stay to chat with each other. Children would play around the fountain because it would usually be in a central place with a small open space around it. It would not be unusual for coffeehouses to be found nearby where men would spend their free time. Additionally it has been suggested that some roads and lanes are irregular because they represent shortcuts to water sources. A horse or donkey carrying a water keg didn’t need a wide boulevard any more than the men on motorcycles who deliver water to apartment buildings today.

Aldulhamid Han (I) Sebil and Fountain

Location : Originally opposite Hamidiye Imaret and School, where now Vakıf Han IV stands, in Bahçekapı but later moved to the corner of Zeyneb Sultan Mosque. Single face wall fountain with two sebils. Date 1777

Saliha Sultan Fountain 

Constructed under the orders of Sultan Mahmut I, this was built in the memory of his mother, Saliha Sultan in 1732. 

Bab-ı Ali Fountain 

Date : 1848
Location : On Alay Köşkü Caddesi.
Type : Single face wall fountain.

Esma Sultan Fountain 

The Esma Sultan Fountain and its namazgah (an open-air prayer terrace constructed for the use both of travellers on caravan routes and for visitors to the outskirts of cities) were built by Esma Sultan, a daughter of Sultan Ahmet III (1673-1736), in Kadırga Square in 1781. It has four water faucets with marble basins undeneath whichlocated on each side of the fountain and in order to step up onto the namazgah, there is a marble staircase on the lateral facade. 

There are three faucets located on the northern side and an additional one on each of the other sides of this historical fountain. The faucets fitted on opposite sides of the fountain with rectangular parallelepiped blocks are decorated with S and C curves, adding an artistic aesthetic to the fountain. Decorated niche pendentives having a rectangular panel board in which an inscription of six verses are form the surface of board. This inscription indicates the construction date of the fountain. There are two basins placed on buttresses which are built in a reverse bell-shaped style on both the northern and western corners of the fountain. There is also a watering hole with three divisions on the southern corner.

The namazgâh platform, whose prayer terrace was constructed on top of the fountain itself, is accessible by a staircase on the northern side of the fountain and has a special importance in terms of showing the importance of cleanliness in Islamic culture.

İshak Ağa Fountain in Beykoz 

Situated in the Beykoz area of Istanbul, this is one of the most beautiful fountain monuments in Turkey.
Originally built by Behruz Ağa, hasodabaşı (master of the chamber) to Süleyman the Magnificent. Repaired on the orders of Mahmud I by İshak Ağa, customs superintendent of Istanbul, whose name is recorded in the inscription. Date :1746 

The Imperial Fountains

The little fountain on Kazanci Yokusu, however, is nothing like the great imperial fountains in Istanbul on street corners or within mosque complexes. Istanbul’s imperial fountains reflect various periods but the one considered the most outstanding is that built by Sultan Ahmet III in 1728. This is the ruler during whose reign the famous Tulip Period (Lale Devri) occurred. The fountain is located between St. Sophia and the outer gate of Topkapi Palace. The square structure and its over-hanging roof and five small domes is considered a fine example of the very decorative style of ornamentation normally termed Turkish rococo. It is not known whether Turkish rococo was influenced by European rococo, a style that rose about the same time in Europe.

Another is the fountain built by Sultan Mahmud I at Tophane in 1732. This is often described as baroque even though it is very similar in style to the earlier one constructed by Sultan Ahmet III. The designs include roses, flowers in vases and even fruit on plates compete with geometric designs and other still life forms. Similar motifs are found on tiles, metal objects and embroideries to mention just a few.

When one looks at the Bezmialem Valide Sultan Cesmesi in Macka on Spor Caddesi, there’s considerable difference. This is a fountain built by the second wife of Sultan Mahmud II and mother of Sultan Abdulmecid in 1839. It is much simpler and although it has four sides, it is not heavily decorated the way the two previously discussed fountains are and it’s not clear whether it was from lack of funds or the need for extensive decorations had passed.

Ottoman fountains today

At the beginning of the 20th century, a total of 1,600 fountains were registered with the Pious Foundations Directorate but by 2000, only 400 remained. That’s a loss of approximately 12 fountains a year.

Today restoration is going on. Both the metropolitan municipality and the local authorities are in the process of restoring the Ottoman fountains. Eyup Municipality has a number of such projects for restoring fountains within its boundaries. In Eyup the fountains present the most beautiful examples of Ottoman architecture, stone work, calligraphy and the decorative arts. The municipality has worked on nine fountains and one water tower.

Sometimes corporations get involved in restoring historic fountains. For example, Cif, a Unilever product, was used in a project that helped with the cleaning of Topkapi Palace as well as the Kadin Efendi and Hekimoglu Ali Pasa Fountains. An advertising film was made about the work done on Topkapi Palace.

Another source of assistance is non-governmental organizations such as CEKUL, the Foundation for the Promotion and Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage. The group is engaged in restoring a fountain at Eceabat in the Canakkale district.

The government has become more involved over the years but the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, under which such repairs should occur, has only a very small budget allocation in general. Because Istanbul is the European Culture Capital for 2010, the metropolitan municipality has taken a greater interest in its Ottoman heritage. One can only hope that this interest continues after 2010.

Fountain types in Istanbul: cesme, fiskiye, sebil, sadirvan, selale.

Cesme: (Persian) A structure from which water is made to flow in an orderly way for everybody’s benefit.

Fiskiye: (Arabic) The mouth of a pool that shoots water upward in various designs.

Sebil: (Arabic, Road) It is said of places that always distribute drinking water in acceptance of God’s will. These places are usually found next to mosques and each has a distinctive style.

Sadirvan: (Persian, Sad - much; irvan – it flows) A sadirvan is a pool into which abundant water splashes from a rather higher point or is a water reservoir that is surrounded by a wall that has faucets. They are usually found in mosque courtyards where they are used for ablutions before prayer service. They may be covered or open.

Selale: (Arabic, Waterfall) In Ottoman times, it was often an artificial waterfall created to resemble those occurring naturally.

Source : http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ 

The German Fountain

The German Fountain is located in Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul across from the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed I. It was constructed to commemorate the second anniversary of the German Emperor Wilhelm II's visit to Istanbul in 1898. The fountain's plans were drawn by the architect Spitta and was constructed by the architect Schoele. The German architect Carlitzik and the Italian architect Joseph Anthony also worked on this project.

It was officially opened January 27, 1901, on the birthday of German Emperor Wilhelm II.  It was built in Germany, then transported piece by piece and reassembled in its current site in 1900. The Neo-Renaissance style of fountain's octagonal dome features eight marble columns, and the dome's interior is covered with golden mosaics. The Neo-Renaissance style of the octagonal fountain stands on a high floor with a staircase of eight stairs, seven brass faucets and, covering its reservoir, there is a dome which has eight porphyry columns. The exterior bronze green dome, which stands these over eight porphyry columns, and  the dome's interior surface are decorated with golden mosaics as well as with Abdülhamid II's tughra and Wilhelm II's symbol.
The archs between the columns showcase the deep-rooted friendship between Turkey and Germany, and being situated in Sultanahmet Square, the artistic value of the fountain is further brought out.

Valens Aqueduct

The Valens Aqueduct stands in Istanbul, in the quarter of Fatih, and spans the valley between the hills which are today occupied by Istanbul University and the Fatih Mosque. It is a creation of the late Roman and the early Byzantine time. It is uncertain as to when the aqueduct’s construction began, but it is mentioned in certain sources that it was completed eithe during the reign of Emperor Valens (364–378CE) or of Hadrianus (117–138CE) whose names it bears. The aqueduct was later repaired during the rule of Emperor Justinian II (576), Konstantinos V (741–775), and Basileios II (1019). After the 11th century, and during the siege and invasion of the city, it received a large amount of damage.

During the 6th century, the Valens Aqueduct was used to provide water to the palaces of Istanbul,  the Ahilleus Bath, and the Cistern. Nevertheless, according to Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo, a Castilian diplomat who traveled to Constantinople en route to an embassy in 1403, the aqueduct was also used to water the gardens. After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, Sultan Mehmet II repaired the whole water supply and added new arches to the structure in order to attempt to solve the water shortage problem of the city. During the Ottoman period, it was also repaired several times. The repairs and the addition of new lines and arches to the water-supplying net continued during the reign of Bayezid II (1447/48-1512), Suleiman I (1494-1566), and Mustafa II (1664-1703). These restoration works made a sufficient impact on the ability of the Valens Aqueduct to reach the present day. 

It is thought that the Aqueduct of Valens had a length exceeding 1000 meters during the early Byzantine period, but today it had an average length of 971 meters and a maximum height of about 28 meters (63.5 meters above sea level). A great part of the Valens Aqueduct was destroyed and only the part located on Atatürk Boulevard has survived today. H. Prost, who prepared the structural plan of Istanbul, enabled vehicles to proceed through the Valens without causing any damage during World War II. The part of the Valens Aqueduct located on Atatürk Boulevard was cleaned and strengthened by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in 1988. This historical structure was restored between 1990 and 1993 by Doğan Kuban and Ş. Akıncı.


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