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Stop At: Basilica Cistern, Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410 Turkey
Fifty two steps, a jungle of three hundred and thirty six columns, an enchanting and uncanny darkness, and the phosphorescence of the water...like a secret underground kingdom, which has waited for fifteen hundred years for the sun’s light to illuminate it.
Don’t be mistaken when reading these incredible words: This historical and mysterious place actually exists in Istanbul. It is the water cistern, which was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian the First (527 – 565) in order to meet the water needs of Constantinople.
Due to the fact that Constantinople era Istanbul was constantly besieged during the Roman and Byzantine periods, it was constantly in need of a regular supply of water. To meet this need, a great number of cisterns were constructed during both eras. The Yerebatan Cistern, which is also known as the Basilica Cistern, is the largest and most impressive of all of the cisterns in the city. The Yerebatan Cistern amazes all of its visitors with its marble pillars. Indeed, one might even think that such a magnificent space could, in fact, be a castle.
Duration: 30 minutes