Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Underworld of Basilica Cistern @ Istanbul, Turkey

Basilica Cistern which was built underneath the city of Istanbul is the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in İstanbul. It was constructed using 336 columns and built symmetry. Its an amazing feat to have such symmetry and built underground during the time back in 6th Century. It was built to store water delivered via 20km aqueducts from a reservoir near the Black Sea. It was closed down by the Byzantine emperors and was forgotten by city authorities until rediscovered in 1545 by scholar Petrus Gyllius. During that time, Petrus Gyllius was told by the local residents that they are able to obtain water by lowering buckets into a dark space below their basement floors. Some are even able to catch fish from there. Based on this discovery, Gyllius explored the neighbourhood and accessed the cistern through one of the basements. The cistern was cleaned and renovated in 1985 by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality and opened to the public in 1987. Basilica Cistern is now one of the Istanbul most popular tourist attractions. When you walking along its raised wooden platforms, you will feel the water dripping from the vaulted ceiling and water ponds with swimming fishes below the platforms.


Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici) dated back in 532.


Huge columns was built in symmetry. Water pond below served as a reservoir previously.

Write up about Basilica Cistern and Medusa.

Main attraction is the Medusa head. War weapon to turn enemies into stones?

90 degree rotated Medusa head. No one know exactly why the head were rotated that way. Its still a mystery until today.


Lighten up columns in Basilica Cistern.

Walking on the wooden platform.

Fishes underneath the wooden platform.

GPS/Coordinate: 41.008368, 28.977835
Address: Alemdar Mh. Yerebatan Cd 13 34410 Fatih/İstanbul
Entrance fee: 20 Turkish Lira for foreigner.
Public transport: 8 minutes walk from Sultanahmet tram station.

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