İstanbul Seyahat Rehberi

Basilica Cistern

  • After the Ottoman conquest Basilica Cistern continued to provide water to the Topkapi Palace.

  • Medusa Head

  • 7,000 slaves were involved in the construction of Basilica Cistern.

  • This is the only cistern that until very recently retained its function of water reservoir.

  • The cistern has 336 pillars, each of which are 9 meters of length.

  • It has a capacity of 100,000 tons and it guaranteed water supply to the gardens of the Topkapı Palace.

The Byzantian water reservoir in Sultanahmet also goes by the name of Basilika Cistern. Byzantine Emperor Constantine built a structure that was later rebuilt and enlarged by Emperor Justinian after the Nika riots of 532.  7,000 slaves were involved in the construction of Basilica Cistern. After the Ottoman conquest Basilica Cistern continued to provide water to the Topkapi Palace.

Medusa Heads
The plan for the cistern was extracted by German seaman in the 20 th century. According to the plan, it was a giant rectangular construction, 140 meters long, 70 meters wide. Most of the columns were taken from older constructions made of varios types of marble, chiseled granite. The cistern has 336 pillars, each of which are 9 meters of length. Also, there are two Medusa heads to be found. The origin of the two Medusa heads is unknown,  it is thought that the Medusa heads were brought here after being removed from a building of the late Roman period.This is the only cistern that until very recently retained its function of water reservoir.

Water supply to the gardens of Topkapı Palace
It has a capacity of 100,000 tons, and it guaranteed water supply to the gardens of the Topkapı Palace. It has undergone several restorations since its foundation. The first of the repairs were carried out twice in the 18th century during the reign of Ahmed III. The second major repair was completed during the 19th century during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The cistern was discovered by a German submarine. It was opened for the public in 1989.

 

 

 

Useful Information for Basilica Cistern

Address Yerebatan Caddesi 13, Sultanahmet
Tel 0 (212) 522 12 59
Entrance fee 10 TL
Visiting hours Daily between 09.00 and 17.30, On the first day of religious holidays, the Basilica Cistern is closed until 13.00.
Fast Facts Especially in summer seasons there is a long quee in front of the ticket office. And the other important thing to pay attantion is the commisioners. Commissioner is the art of empaling in itself. There are many plots in it from Dallas. And when you get the headliners in a film, they are far superior than the actors who win the Oscar Award. Commision (Hanut) comes to mean shop in Armenian and commissioner is a worker who works in a specific shop. Usually their chases are square of Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, in front of the Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar. Although they have low educational level, they know four or three language explicably and they are well-dressed. Naturally leaving good impression to your addressee is important. Firstly commissioners want to give direction and they start to deep conversation and they bring tourist to carpet store and this meeting finishes with offering tea. Eventually tourists buy whatever they want , they buy it with high price. Because there are commission for commissioner.
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