Şerefiye Cistern, is considered to be one of the oldest water structures in the Historic
Peninsula of Istanbul with a history dating back almost to 1,600 years. Based on its architectural features it is predicted that it was built during the reign of Theodosius II (408 – 450).
Şerefiye Cistern derives its name from the neighborhood where it was located during the Ottoman period. Arif Pasha Mansion, a building believed to be built in the late 1800s and the early 1900s and used as the Istanbul Sehremaneti Building in 1912, was erected over the cistern.
Beside the inadequacy of water resources in Istanbul, there was also a need for structures to store water due to the population density and the sieges. While open and closed cisterns served as the water tanks of the city for centuries, it is known that the magnificent closed cisterns (such as the Şerefiye and the famous Basilica Cistern) mainly supplied water to the Great Palace, Nymphaeum and Zeuksippos Baths close by.
Built on an area of 24 to 40 meters on the edges and reaching as high as 11 meters, there are 45 sail-vaults and 32 columns inside the Şerefiye Cistern. All of the Corinthian decorations were made of marble. The interior walls of the monument are covered with waterproof plaster while the corners are curved to withstand water pressure.
The Şerefiye Cistern restored by İstanbul Metropolitan municipality recently is the first museum of Turkey with 360° Projection Mapping system and the oldest building in the world to which this system has been integrated. The interaction with a 1,600-year-old historical monument and 3D space perception is simultaneously following the traces of the water culture of both the Şerefiye Cistern and Istanbul.