Basilica Cistern - Yerebatan Saray, Istanbul
This cistern was built in AD 532 and stored 17,596,800 gallons of drinking water for the city. It's a very cool place to visit (literally as well as figuratively) and doesn't take too much time to see. There are 336 columns which make it an interesting sight, as they all come out of the water to hold up the very high ceiling. Spotlights along some columns provide an erie atmosphere as you walk along the stone pathways down the middle.
Located in the northwest corner of the cistern, the bases of two columns reuse blocks carved with the visage of Medusa. The origin of the two heads is unknown, though it is thought that the heads were brought to the cistern after being removed from a building of the late Roman period. Tradition has it that the blocks are oriented sideways and inverted in order to negate the power of the Gorgons' gaze.
Open: 9am-5.30pm. Admission: TL10.
Tough a little biut expensive, the visit to the Yerebatan Sarnici is a must in Istambul. Located just next to Aya Sofia, take 20 min to visit it. It's simply beautiful with 336 colums arranged in 12 rows of 28. The red lights in the water and the classical music are really pleasant. And go to then end to seethe two Medusa columns! Amazing !
I was really surprised by the Cistern, it is quite interesting and impressive. Built in 532 AD, it features 336 columns in 12 rows, a couple of which feature upside down medusa heads. The lighting gives it a great ambiance but pictures are difficult. The cistern was used to bring water to the palace. Great for a visit in the heat of the afternoon
Located right in the heart of Sultanahmet is an intricate system of cisterns built by Emperor Justinian in AD 532. The cistern is 65 m wide and 143 m long and its roof is supported by 336 columns arranged in 12 rows. There are two unique columns supported by upside-down Medusa heads.
Concerts are sometimes held in the cistern
The underground water reservoir (cistern) was built by Byzantine Emperor I. Justinianus (527-565) and later on became known as “Yerebatan Sarayi” among public. As there was Basilica where Sarnic is, it is called ‘Basilica Cistern”. Length of it is 140 m, width is 70m and it is a giant rectangular structure. The ceiling gravity is distributed to columns through arches. The majority of the columns that were collected among older structures and sculptured in different marble types consist of one whole part and some of them consist of two parts. The capitals of the columns are of different characteristics: 98 of them reflect Corinthian style, while others are of Doric style. Walls of cistern, built with 4.80m thick bricks and bricked floor were made waterproof with Khorosan Mortar. This cistern lays on 9800 square meters field and has the capacity of 100 000 tones water storage. Two Medusa heads at the base of two columns are masterpieces of sculpture art in Roman Period. Basilica was restored twice in Ottoman Empire period and in 18th century in III Ahmet Sultan time (1723 AD ).In 19th century in Sulatan II Abdulhamid (1876-1909) time it underwent restoration again. 8 columns to the middle part were frozen with a big concrete layer and lost their characteristics as they were in danger of breaking down during a construction work that took place in 1955-1960. The cistern held a large area met water needs of palace and other residents living in this area in Byzantine period and it was in use for a period of time after Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453 and the gardens of Topkapi palace were watered from this resource. Ottomans stopped using the reservoir after installing tap water system, considering cistern water as dead water. Gyllius discovered and introduced the cisterns to the western world way later, when he was looking for Byzantine remainders. Under the harsh circumstances Gyllius took a tour around the cistern on a boat ( I wish the boats were still available at the time of our tour) and determined where the columns were. He impressed many travelers after publishing his experience in his travel book. In a comprehensive renovation work that took place between 1985-1987 period 50000 ton of mud were taken away and walking platforms were placed in cistern, and open for visitors. It is obvious that there is no day light there, in undergrounds, but there is fish there swimming which is quite amazing. This tour will not take much time, 15-20 minutes is enough to look around.
Very interesting underground cistern with beautiful lighting, and water with fish swimming there. Kids will love finding the fish. At the end, you will see two inverted medusa heads. It is very damp and dark, so once you finish , it is better to leave.
These are amazing. I don't want to say any more about them. But I will say that there's an entrance fee, not too bad, and some stairs. Inside, you walk on a raised platform, but it's a surreal experience. Beware the Medussa.
One of Turkey's most beautiful cistern. Highlights of the cistern include two pilar statues of medusa, and the many fish that swim in the cistern water. Obviously this cistern no longer functions as the cities water supply. Definitely worth the visit.
I have to say that i'm as impressed as every other visitor to this 1,500 year old cistern.
It was built to provide water to the world's largest city while it was under siege from the Greeks and several other invading armies. It served its purpose and saved the city residents on several occasions.
There is still amazingly clear and fresh water in it, albeit only a few inches deep, with large and lazy fish.
The amazing thing about this is that when it was full (I've forgotten how many zillion cubic metres of fresh water), the water never seeped out. Even now, 1.500 years later, it's still water tight (to a few feet anyway).
This is well worth a visit.
Built by the Romans, i tried and failed at comparing it with the Roman baths in Bath, England.
If you take a half day City Sights Tour which will cost you EU30 per head, this, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and several other more important historical sights are included.
The cistern is a few minutes walk from the Blue Mosque.
It isn't every municipal water-works that becomes a tourist attraction. But this 6th-century Byzantine underground water cistern is rather special, having been constructed using hundreds of Greek and Roman columns to support the 20m high brick vaulted ceiling.
Measuring 140m by 70m, there's no hint in the busy road junction above that it even exists. Once inside you're free to wander the raised walkways through the forest of columns. Subtle lighting and piped classical music complete the atmospherics and give the ancient feat of engineering a suitably mystical ambience.
This is an amazing structure to visit. Made by Romans to hide their water, it is a great architectural undertaking. They are nearly empty and have a small amount of water and fish. So, you can see the large underground space that stored the vast amount of water. It has a very interesting history as well, and is probably a top 10 attraction in Istanbul.
As you make your walking tour at the "Basilica Cistern - Yerebatan Museum" and if you get tired, there is a small cafeteria inside which you can have some cold / hot drinks and have a rest ..
Also some snacks are available for your convenience ... :)
There are several "Souvenir Shops" on the exit way of the Cistern, in which you can buy some tshirts, hats, postcards, magnets and all those kinds of souvenirs to take back home ...
Even there are batteries, memory cards etc are sold for your camera if you are in need of those ... :)
As like the Fontana di Trevi in Roma, there is a "Wish Pool" at the Basilica Cistern in which visitors throw coins and make a wish ...
Here you can watch my "Video" of "Basilica Cistern" accordingly .... :
There are also many fish of several kinds swimming freely in the water of the Basilica Cistern, nice view for photography ... :)