16 CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS.
by a number of industrious Jews and Armenians. The Turks have named this subterranean palace Bin-bir-derek, in allusion to its supposed original number of columns,
1001, although 212 are all that can now be distinguished. Each column is said to
consist of three shafts with their respective capitals, but the lowest is, at present, buried
beneath the material of the flooring. The whole enclosed area occupies 20,000 square
feet, and is capable of containing 1,237,000 cubic feet of water, a quantity sufficient to
supply the population of Constantinople for fifteen days.
' The pillars of this cistern are distinguished by monograms deeply cut on the shafts
and capitals, like hieroglyphics on an Egyptian obelisk, and so obscure as equally to
puzzle the learned. One of them consists of the Greek initials for Euge philoxene,
" Hail, thou strangers' friend." This cistern, under the Greek empire, was decreed to
be public for the use of all strangers, and was therefore called philoxenos.
THE SOLIMANIE, OR MOSQUE OF SULTAN SOLIMAN.
The Franks have so changed the terms of the Turkish language, that they are hardly
to be recognized. Moslem, which signifies a "professor of the true faith," they have
corrupted into Mussulman ; and Mesjid, the temple in which he worshipped, into mosque !
When the Turks appropriated to themselves the great Christian church of Santa
Sophia, they made it the model of all their future religious edifices. The general outline
is a Greek cross, enclosed in a quadrangle. This is surmounted with a large dome in
the centre, to represent, as the modern Greeks say, the great wound in our Saviour's side ;
the four smaller domes at the angles, depicting the smaller wounds in his hands and
feet. This form the Turks usually observe, without any reference to its origin; but they
have added members peculiar to themselves. They hold bells in abhorrence, and invite
their congregations to prayer by the human voice only. For this purpose certain
slender towers shoot up from the angles of the edifice, when the Muezzim ascends by
interior stairs, and from a circular gallery round the shaft calls together the faithful#
These towers are denominated Menar or Minareh, an Arabic word which signifies a
" beacon or light-house" to guide the true believer. The Muezzim puts his hands behind
his ears, and from the hollow of his palms shouts out his invitation, walking round and
repeating to the four points of the compass, " There is but one God, and Mohammed is
his prophet:—come to prayers—come to salvation." This cry, called the Ezan, is
repeated fixe times a day at regular intervals; and as it issues from every minaret at the
same time, it fills all the air with a solemn and supernatural sound, and regulates all the
arrangements of the people, who have no public clocks to direct them. Besides the
common mosque of the city, there are thirteen eminently distinguished. They are called
Djami Seletyn or " Imperial mosques," because they have been erected by some sultan
as the highest act of piety. They are always distinguished by their magnitude, magnificence, and the number and beauty of their minarets. While the smaller^ mosques have