Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

May 2nd, 2023

Basilica Cistern is one of the most fascinating historical landmarks in Istanbul. Commissioned by Emperor Justinian I and built in 532, this underground marvel is an impressive feat of engineering and architecture, built to provide water to the city during times of drought.

The cistern's mystic and eerie atmosphere is what makes it so unique. As you walk down the stairs, the sound of dripping water and the dimly lit environment will captivate you. The 336 massive columns, each one intricately carved and many salvaged from ruined temples, support the roof of the cistern, creating a symmetrical and grand appearance.

The most famous of the columns is the Medusa column, which features two Medusa heads as the base. The reason for their inclusion in the design is unclear, but they add a touch of intrigue to this already enchanting space.

The Basilica Cistern is undoubtedly one of the top attractions not to be missed on your Istanbul trip. It's a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of ancient Byzantine architects and a hauntingly beautiful reminder of Istanbul's rich and complex history.