Rediscovery of the Cistern: 1545
In 1545, Petrus Gyllius, a Dutch traveler, was researching Byzantium ruins in Istanbul when he stumbled across the Basilica Cistern while studying around the Hagia Sophia. It was this accidental rediscovery that commenced the revival and awakening period in the memory of this lieu de memoire that Nora describes. Gyllius was told that people were able to draw buckets of water from some wells, and were even able to catch fish. Intrigued by the unknown underground source of water, Gyllius decided to explore by descending into one of the wells behind an ordinary, modern Ottoman building. By boat, he was able to explore the cistern, leading to a Renaissance rediscovery, and much western publicity for the underground palace after it was published in his travel book.
Nevertheless, the Basilica Cistern had fallen into much decay. Having gone unrecognized for a century, it had become a dumping ground for garbage and even bodies. While this part in the lieu de memoire’s memory is exciting, due to its rediscovery, it would still take another two centuries until Ahmed III would repair the cistern; until that time the site would still sit in decay. However, the rediscovery marked the start of the new function of the cistern. While it would no longer truly be used as a clean source of water, it function would now allow locals and visitors to preserve and visit the past. In was, in a sense, the recognization of the site as a lieu de memoire, and as an important part in the city's evolution and palimpsest. Therefore, this was the start of the "unintentional monument" period for the site that Riegl describes.
Korzhumbayeva, Aigerim. "Istanbul’s (Constantinople) 6th Century Basilica Cistern." Electrium Magazine. N.p., 20 July 2012. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. http://www.electrummagazine.com/2012/07/constantinoples-6th-century-basilica-cistern/