Constantinople: The End of an Era

These arches, numbered 47-51 from the west, were eventually rebuilt in the 16th century under Sultan Suleyman I (reigned 1520-1566), who also introduced new lines to the waterways with sources at Halkali and in the Forest of Belgrade. Later, arches 41-45 were reconstructed later under Sultan Mustafa II (reigned 1695-1703).

Thus, as the city plunged into periods great turmoil and restoration from the fifteenth to early seventeenth centuries, many of these key periods—such as the Fall of Constantinople and the Great Earthquake of 1509—were reflected in the life of the Valens Aqueduct. And as there came some stability in the city under Ottoman rule, the aqueduct slowly underwent some major repairs. This aqueduct is, and always has been, a sort of a “lieu de memoire.” Over the centuries, it has stood to represent the malleability of the world, of political regimes and of the whims of nature, and by the fall of the Roman empire in Constantinople, it was certainly this symbolic lieu de memoire.



Gamm, Niki. “Quenching Istanbul’s thirst with aqueducts and cisterns.” The Hurriyet Daily News, Nov. 1, 2014.

Ortaköylü, Doğa. “Longest single water supply line from the ancient world.” Accessed Nov. 3, 2016.

Valens Aquaduct. Istanbul 2010--European Capital of Culture, accessed Nov. 5, 2016.