The Basilica Cistern, also known as the Yerebatan Sarnıcı in Turkish, is an underground ancient water reservoir located in Istanbul, Turkey.
Here’s some information about the Basilica Cistern:
The Basilica Cistern dates back to the 6th century during the Byzantine Empire. It was built to provide water to the Great Palace of Constantinople (now known as the Topkapı Palace) and other nearby buildings.
The Basilica Cistern is situated in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, close to famous landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Its exact address is Yerebatan Cad. No:1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
The cistern is an underground structure that covers an area of about 9,800 square meters (105,000 square feet). It features a total of 336 columns arranged in 12 rows. Some of these columns have decorative capitals, showcasing various architectural styles.
The Basilica Cistern is known for its unique atmosphere. The space is dimly lit, and the columns are reflected in the shallow water that fills the cistern, creating a mystical ambiance. Visitors can walk on the raised platforms and explore the vast underground space.
One of the notable highlights of the Basilica Cistern is the presence of two Medusa heads, which are ancient Roman sculptures used as column bases. These captivating artworks add an intriguing element to the cistern and have become popular photo spots.
The Basilica Cistern has been featured in various movies and TV shows, including the James Bond film “From Russia with Love” and the video game “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.” Its unique atmosphere and architectural beauty make it a sought-after filming location.
The Basilica Cistern is open to the public for visits. Inside, there are walkways and platforms for visitors to explore the cistern safely. The site also offers visitor facilities such as ticket counters, restrooms, and a small café.
The Basilica Cistern is located in a historical area with several other attractions nearby. After visiting the cistern, you can explore the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapı Palace, the Hippodrome, and the Grand Bazaar, all within walking distance.
The Basilica Cistern can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. To avoid long queues, consider visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Photography is allowed inside the cistern, but check for any specific regulations or restrictions. Visiting the Basilica Cistern offers a unique opportunity to explore an ancient underground structure and witness Istanbul’s rich history. Enjoy the atmospheric surroundings, admire the impressive columns, and marvel at the Medusa heads while discovering this hidden gem beneath the city.
How to visit Basilica cistern Istanbul?
To visit the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, you can follow these steps:
Plan your visit: Determine the date and time you want to visit the Basilica Cistern. Consider visiting during weekdays or non-peak hours to avoid crowds.Choose your transportation: Istanbul has a well-developed public transportation system. You can use buses, trams, or the metro to reach the Sultanahmet district, where the Basilica Cistern is located. Check the local transportation options and plan your route accordingly.Location: The Basilica Cistern is situated in the Sultanahmet district, near famous landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Its address is Yerebatan Cad. No:1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.Entrance: Upon arriving at the Basilica Cistern, you will find a ticket counter where you can purchase an entrance ticket. Ticket prices may vary, so it’s best to check in advance. During peak times, there might be a queue, so be prepared for some waiting.Explore the Cistern: Once inside, you can explore the Basilica Cistern at your own pace. Walk along the raised platforms that lead you through the cistern. Take in the atmosphere, admire the impressive columns, and spot the famous Medusa heads.Visitor Facilities: The Basilica Cistern offers visitor facilities such as restrooms and a small café. Take advantage of these amenities as needed during your visit.Nearby Attractions: The Sultanahmet district is home to several other attractions. After visiting the Basilica Cistern, you can explore nearby landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkapı Palace, the Hippodrome, and the Grand Bazaar. These attractions are within walking distance.Local Tips: To avoid crowds and make the most of your visit, consider arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Photography is generally allowed inside the cistern, but be mindful of any specific regulations or restrictions. Also, keep an eye on your belongings and keep them secure while exploring the cistern. Visiting the Basilica Cistern allows you to delve into Istanbul’s ancient history and experience the unique atmosphere of this underground marvel. Enjoy the architectural beauty, soak in the mystical ambiance, and discover the intriguing Medusa heads while exploring this fascinating historical site.
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