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The story of ancient pipelines

On the eve of the most blessed and desirable holiday – the New year – we decided to write a Christmas special and not very serious article. But in order not to deviate from the basic field of activity of our organization, we will devote it to the ancient system of pipeline transportation. What we have now – we know: pipelines, stretching for hundreds of thousands of kilometres, crossing half the globe, serviced by thousands of engineers and professionals. But it was not always so. And how did it all start?

Of course, speaking about the ancient systems of pipelines, we mean it’s the conduits. Neither of which the transport of oil, gas and other things then there was no question! But the need for the delivery of water really was, though built cities near water, and the fields were sowed along the rivers. The city has evolved accordingly increased and the problem of water supply to the place of consumption. Different States have tried to solve the problem on their own, but the decision, however, were similar: the aqueducts.

The aqueduct is the water drawn from the water source to the place of consumption is located below the source height. It was constructed from different materials, but the most widely used stone. Later as a building material was brick, steel and others. Often the aqueducts represented cabinlocalhome Grand structure with a height of tens of meters. And now many of them are architectural monuments, and a place of pilgrimage for millions of tourists. Well, delve a bit into history and look at some ancient States.

Although the first small aqueducts in the Old World, unfortunately not extant, was built in 2-3 Millennium BC. in Egypt and Assyria (modern Iraq), the greatest skill in this matter was reached by the engineers of Ancient Rome. The Roman state, which are located in those years on three continents – in Europe, Asia and Africa was the most developed and populated state of the Ancient world. Very actively developed architecture and art, palaces and grew the ancient stone city. The life of such cities, of course, was unthinkable without water. Aqueducts were built throughout, for example, in Rome itself water was supplied by 11 aqueducts. But the longest aqueduct was not built by the Romans in Italy, and in the territory of modern Tunisia, to supply the famous city of Carthage in the Roman province of Africa.

Carthage was founded in 825 BC, the natives of Phoenicia, ancient Mediterranean craftsmen and tradesmen, located on the territory of modern Lebanon. At some point of time in the hands of the Carthaginians was concentrated trade, and therefore power, in almost all the southern Mediterranean, including the Islands of Corsica, Sicily and Sardinia. But Carthage strove for more – to expand its trading monopoly over all the known earth and create a world state. In this way the Carthaginians faced with the growing Roman Republic, and in the three Punic wars (264 — 146 BCE) suffered a complete defeat. Carthage was completely destroyed, and the place on which he stood, was plowed with salt, cursed and never settled. The Roman colony of Carthage was built several decades later in a new location, a few kilometers from the old one. Soon the Romans became worried over the supply of its new, rapidly growing colony, and drew attention to sources of fresh water in the Atlas mountains, which was used for their needs even the Carthaginians. Roman engineers built an aqueduct with a length of 132 km, a height at some sites more than 20 m, allowing to supply to the city, according to current estimates, about 400 liters of water per second. The water harvesting infrastructure in the mountains and some parts of this gigantic structure has survived for almost 2 millennia and has survived to the present day…

Ceramic pipeline water collection in the Atlas mountains and the fragments of the Carthaginian aqueduct

To discuss the following famous aqueduct of ancient times, moved from the African coast of the Mediterranean sea on the coast of the sea of Marmara. There, on seven hills was the brilliant capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the greatest medieval city of the Old world, the cradle of Orthodox Christianity – Constantinople (now Istanbul). This huge city also had a public water supply system, laid in 2-4 century BC To our times in the city has preserved a large fragment of one of the aqueducts, the so-called aqueduct of Valens, built after a severe drought under Emperor Valente in 364-378, and subsequently, after another earthquake in the early 16th century, renovated by the great architect already Turkish of Constantinople by Mimar Sinan. The aqueduct was built in the classic Roman arch style, and its height reached 30 m in length of one kilometre. For its intended purpose, the aqueduct was used almost until the 20th century, i.e. almost 16 centuries! Currently, the aqueduct of Valens is one of the places of tourist pilgrimage in Istanbul, and through its arches is a lively city highway – Ataturk Boulevard.

The Aqueduct Of Valens

But the ancient engineers successfully solved not only the problem of delivering water to a major city, so to speak-trunk pipelines – aqueducts. The ancient city had the infrastructure to store precious liquids and for water supply to individual consumers. In Constantinople, for example, there were more than 40 underground reservoirs. Some of them survived until our days. The most famous of them – the Basilica Cistern – located in the historical center of Istanbul near the Hagia Sophia.

The Basilica Cistern

The Basilica cistern is a true underground hall of columns dimensions 145 × 65 × 8 m. the Ceiling is supported by 336 columns (12 rows, 28 columns). This vault was built almost 250 years in the 4-6 centuries ad and almost 1000 years was used for storing drinking water. Now the Cistern is one of the most popular museums of Istanbul.

In addition to underground reservoirs in Constantinople was and the water collected from a marble pipe sections drilled stone blocks and an inner diameter of approximately 400-500 mm. Pipe sections were assembled in a pipeline by a kind of a tapered joint, which is then sealed with natural materials. Now several parts of this aqueduct can be seen on display in Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

Further, the stop on our short journey through the most ancient objects of the pipeline infrastructure is already in Asia Minor, on the Aegean coast by the Greek colonists in the 11th century BC was founded the city of Ephesus. This city in ancient times was, first of all, the famous one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – a magnificent white marble temple of Artemis. Later, during the wars of the successors for the legacy of Alexander the great, Ephesus was the capital of one of them, Lysimachus, king of Thrace and Macedonia. But the real heyday Ephesus was reached after the accession to the Roman Empire, especially when in 27 BC it became the capital of the Roman province of Asia. Then the city was expanded and in it were built the great library, theatre, stadium, baths and other necessary buildings of any major Roman city of the era. Among other things the Romans built in the Ephesus system of aqueducts and urban water supply.

Ceramic water pipe in the city of Ephesus

Ephesus water was ceramic, of underground or overhead strip. He was going from a small pipe sections which, as in Constantinople, were connected with a raster connections. This level of infrastructure many famous European cities only reached in 18-19 century…

Pipe sections of the aqueduct of Ephesus

But not only some of the Eurasian States have established water supply systems. The original system of water transport were created and Indian tribes of South America. This, however, there were no above-ground structures, but rather a complex system of canals and reservoirs, which allows to transport water from the mountains to the places where people live. The aqueduct of this type in South America, Cumbe Mayo, a length of about 8 km was supposedly built about 1500 BC at the height of 3.3 km Unique engineering construction was and the water supply system of the Holy city of the Incas Machu Picchu built in the 15th century BC at the height of 2450 meters above sea level in the Andes, in Peru. Clean water from high mountain springs was headed into the city by a system of artificial canals.

The Inca city of Machu Picchu

In this review, we, of course, are unable to tell You about all historic piping systems. Unique aqueducts have been preserved in different places, for example, in Spain, in Segovia or in France, near nîmes (the highest Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard). But we decided to follow the main principle of our company and tell You only what we saw ourselves. By the way, all photos in this article too exclusive and made by us and are not copied from a well-known online resources. In conclusion we would like to congratulate all the readers of this humble blog a happy New Year and merry Christmas, and wishing You and Your families good health, success, financial well-being and prosperity!