The Basilica Cistern

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The Basilica Cistern is a spectacular underground structure designed as a water tank built in 532 AD by Emperor Justinian for the water supply of the city. The vast reservoir, known in the days of Byzantium as Basilica Cistern, also called by the Ottomans Yerebatan Sarayi (palace ground), occupies what in the beginning was a pagan basilica located beneath the Stoa Basilica, one of the biggest city squares. Were used to achieve columns, capitals and bases recovered from ruined buildings. Abandoned and reduced to landfill in 1987 after many restorations was opened to the public most of the water has been removed, were placed walkways to allow the visit, a skilful lighting has amplified its beauty. Just walk down a narrow staircase to find yourself in a real temple submerged. The tank, a room of 140 meters long and 70 meters wide, is covered by a vaulted ceiling supported by 336 columns of classical divided into 12 rows of 28 elements 4 m apart. from each other. The atmosphere is very impressive thanks to the presence of the water that gives life to beautiful reflections and light effects, and background music. Note the two monumental heads of Medusa, one horizontal and the other upside down, which are located in the northwestern corner of the underlying pedestals of two columns. Where: neighborhood of Sultanahmet. When: Every day from 9 to 18. How: Ticket price: 10 TRL.




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