Ottoman Conquest of Constantinople : 1453
The fall of Constantinople marked a big shift not only for the trajectory of the city and the battle of the empires, but also for the city's landmarks such as the Basilica Cistern. In 1453, Sultan Mehmet sieged the imperial capital in a conquest that would take 46 days. After the conquest, the Basilica Cistern continued to be used to supply water to the local buildings, but now it was primarily used to supply the Tokapi Palace, where the Sultans resided. In an ironic twist, the privisions for the Tokapi Palace under Ottoman rule picked up whe Great Palace under the Byzantine Empire left off. However, this quick revivial and importance of the cistern did not last long; the Ottoman's quickly found more preferable ways to maintain the palace's gardens, and the cistern’s significance and importance in modernizing Istanbul continued to diminish.
The Ottomans brought their modern technological innovations with them when they arrived. They commenced on projects to replace the cistern water with a functioning irrigation system. Their modern irrigation system ushered in better, flowing water instead of sitting cistern water. Thus, the Basilica Cistern fell quickly out of use. Much like the other structures of the time, like the Great Palace, the Byzantine-era cistern played no functional role in modern Ottoman society. Unlike the Hagia Sophia whose function could evolve, the function of the Basilica Cistern could not adapt nor play any true meaning for the Ottomans. Unfortunately for the cistern, the Ottomans also did not prize the underground well as a significant monument either, and nothing was done to carry the site into Alois Reigl’s third category of unintentional monuments until its rediscovery about a century later. The next hundred years for this lieu de memoire signals its period of dormancy, and would act as a blank on the memory of the site until its later revival. This classification of dormancy in the memory of the site coincides with a changing Constantinople, now Istanbul. The city was modernizing and evolving under Ottoman control, and thus uses for old objects became obsolete, and were replaced. Just as the Basilica Cistern acts as a point in the palimpsest of Istanbul symbolizing Byzantine rule, it also symbolizes Ottoman rule, as other layers covered the cistern, ultimately marking the true end of the cistern's old functional use and importance in the city.