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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 underground attraction located in Istanbul, Turkey. Here is some information about this popular place:

History: The Basilica Cistern was built in the 6th century during the Byzantine period, under the rule of Emperor Justinian I. Its purpose was to store and supply water to the nearby Great Palace of Constantinople. The cistern is an architectural marvel, with its vast underground space supported by a forest of 336 marble columns.

Features: The cistern covers an area of approximately 9,800 square meters and can hold up to 80,000 cubic meters of water. It has a unique atmosphere, with dim lighting, eerie reflections on the water, and haunting classical music playing in the background. One of the most famous features of the cistern is the two Medusa heads, which are placed upside down and sideways at the base of two columns.

Tips for visitors:

1. Opening hours: The Basilica Cistern is open every day from early morning until late evening. It is advisable to arrive early to avoid crowds.

2. Entrance fee: There is an entrance fee to visit the cistern, and it is included in the Istanbul Museum Pass. Check the official website for the most up-to-date prices.

3. Dress code: As the cistern is a historical and religious site, it is important to dress modestly. Shoulders and knees should be covered out of respect.

4. Photography: Photography is allowed in the cistern, but the use of tripods and flash is prohibited. Be mindful of other visitors and avoid obstructing pathways.

5. Guided tours: Consider taking a guided tour to learn more about the cistern's history and significance. Knowledgeable guides can provide interesting insights and make your visit more enriching.

6. Nearby attractions: The Basilica Cistern is located in the Sultanahmet district, near other popular attractions such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Take the opportunity to explore these landmarks while in the area.

Visiting the Basilica Cistern is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into Istanbul's rich history. Its impressive architecture and mysterious ambiance make it a must-visit destination for tourists.

Other Locations Turkey