Your Istanbul itinerary won’t be complete without including another famous sight to behold in the city. Entrenched with so much history and mystery is the Basilica Cistern or Cisterna Basilica. Locally, the locals call it Yerebatan Sarnici or Subterranean Cistern. Built in 532, it was commissioned by Emperor Justinian I.
The Basilica Cistern functioned as a water reservoir and supplied water to the inhabitants. It’s capacity to hold water was as much as 80,000 cubic meters of water. By far, the Basilica Cistern’s sheer size and grandeur makes it an incredible sight to see. It holds two Medusa statues and 336 marble columns designed in Ionic and Corinthian styles. Its incredible symmetry is amazing to see.
Sometime in 1453, it was forgotten and re-discovered by Petrus Gyllius who was researching Byzantine artifacts at that time. The discovery was not paid much attention and the Cistern continued to function as a dumping ground. It was only in 1985 when the city authorities decided to clean it up. By 1987, it was opened to the public and became a smashing tourist attraction.
Experience the thrill of walking around its wooden platforms. Water will drip down its high vaulted ceilings. Feel the ambience as the atmospheric lights seemed to give it an eerie glow. You’ll also find carp fishes swimming in it, adding more to its mystique!
Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Foreign Visitor : 20,00 TL
Daily: 9am - 5:30pm
Museum is open seven days a week. Exceptionally, the first day of religious holidays is opened at 13.00.