Basilica Cistern - Yerebatan Saray, Istanbul
If you go there in summer enjoy this visit, this is a very intesting place and the temperature is considerably lower than outdoors (believe me, you will thank that).
Take attention to the music that you could listen here, it's like a divine gift.
One of the major problems in ancient cities was how to ensure a water supply during seige. Istanbul possessed a series of large cisterns which were constructed with this in mind. Some were open and others were covered in. The latter were either square or rectangular in plan, and were roofed over with brick arches and vaults, supported on stone piers. The Yerebatan Sarnici is one of the largest covered cisterns of the era in Istanbul. It is situated not far from the court of Hagia Sophia. The district is named after it. In the Byzantine era, it was known as the `Basilica Cistern.` First constructed during the reign of Constantine I (306-337 AD), this underground cistern was restored and extended by Justinian (527-565 AD). It is 141 meters in length and 73 meters wide. There are twelve rows of columns supporting the superstructure, each with 28 columns, for a total of 336 in all. The columns are eight meters in height and are surmounted by composite capitals. The cistern was renowned for the coldness of the water. A street of houses abutting the walls of the Topkapi Palace beside the present Gulhane Park, recently restored as tourist pensions, and whose water was obtained from the underground cistern was named after the cold water fountain there, `Soguk Cesme Sokak.`
The called Yerebatan is a subterranean Roman water cistern located in front of Hagia Sophia Mosque. It was built in the VIth century by the Emperor Justinian. 336 Byzantine columns support the ceiling of the cistern. It is very beautiful to see the reflection of the columns into the water.
Go underground and see the 7th century water storage. Walk the (wet!) walkways through plinths, columns and capitals (apparently taken from ruined buildings). Ornate carvings, some under the water, are picked out by spotlights. The sound of dripping water and eerie echoes follow you.
Walking around , especially in the golden horn area , ist all what one has to do in istanbul to see the best highlights. What i found particular interesting, however, was the visit of the Yerebatan cistern (Cystern of the basilic). The basilica cistern is one of the few early architectura specimen that have survived to our age in the historical peninsula of istanbul. This glamorous underground cisterna was built during the reign of Justinianus in the 6th. century, the age of glory of easter rome. It is 143m long and 65m wide and cover a total of 9800 sqm. There are 336 marble columns, each 9m high. Water for the cistern was provided from the Belgrade Woods, which lie 19 Km north of the city, via Acqueductus built by emperor Justinianus.
By the way the cistern was included as 'scenario' for the first episode of the PC-game 'tomb rider':
Basilica Cistern Yerebatan Cad., Sultanahmet Sq.; 522-1259. This vast underground cavern with over 300 columns in 12 rows was the water source for both the Grand Palace of the Byzantines and the Ottomans’ Topkap¦ Palace.
The Basillica Cistern is located below Hagia Sofia. It is my favorite place in Istanbul! You can walk all around underneath and see the water flowing around. There are numerous columns that were brought there from all over- it is a sort of hodge podge of different styles. The most notable columns are the two Medusa-head columns. One is pictured here.
LA CISTERNA DE YEREBATAN:
Its the largeest of the 60 water storages that were built in Istanbul during the bizantine times.
Its located just front of Aghia Sophia and it was built in the year 532 B.C. Has 336 columns with a distance of 4 meters between columns. It occupies an area of 10.000 square meters and has a height of 8 meters.
"Audio Guides" are available for hire for a small fee at the Basilica Cistern sothat you can have bilingual information on your own language as walking at the Cistern ... :)
Between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, there is an underground cistern that was used to store water during the Justinian era. It is an underground room with the roof held up by columns.
Ancient Roman Cistern underneath the Hippodrome. Built in the 6th century, this cistern still holds water today. Keep an eye out for the Medussa head carvings.
For information about these atmospheric underground cisterns, click here.
This is an ancient waterway built by Emperor Constantine and maintained ever since. It is kind of eerie and lovely in a strange kind of way down there, which is why it is a popular site.
open between 9:30 am - 7:30 pm
it's cool inside ... perfect for a hot afternoon...
Don't forget Medusa on the far end.
Built as a reservoir for the city,one of a few.
As it says on the door,built around 532A.D. and a cooling respite from the heat above.Currently $7 to get in.