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Basilica Cistern

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The Basilica Cistern, also known as the "Yerebatan Sarayı" or "Sunken Palace," is a fascinating historical monument located in Istanbul, Turkey. Here's some important information about this popular tourist attraction:

History: The Basilica Cistern was built in the 6th century during the Byzantine era, under the rule of Emperor Justinian I. It served as a water filtration system and provided water to the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings nearby. The cistern is an impressive architectural feat, with a capacity of holding 80,000 cubic meters of water.

Features: The cistern features a unique atmosphere with its dimly lit interior and rows of columns. It is supported by 336 columns, each standing 9 meters tall. Some of these columns were recycled from ancient ruins and are adorned with intricate carvings. The most famous columns are the two Medusa heads, one placed sideways and the other upside down, which are believed to have been brought from a Roman-era building.

Visiting Tips: When planning a visit to the Basilica Cistern, it's advisable to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid large crowds. The cistern is open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as the ground can be damp and slippery. Also, keep in mind that the temperature inside the cistern is slightly cooler than the outside, so bringing a light jacket or sweater is recommended.

Interesting Facts: The cistern gained international fame after being featured in the James Bond film "From Russia with Love" in 1963. Additionally, the Basilica Cistern has inspired several works of literature, including Dan Brown's novel "Inferno."

Nearby Attractions: The cistern is conveniently located near other popular attractions in Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque are all within walking distance, making it easy to combine a visit to the Basilica Cistern with other sightseeing activities.

In conclusion, the Basilica Cistern is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in exploring the ancient wonders of Istanbul. Its rich history, remarkable architecture, and unique ambiance make it a truly captivating experience for tourists from around the world.