Cistern Istanbul, Turkey

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul is an extraordinary subterranean structure, built by Justinian in 532 AD. It is the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in İstanbul City. Apparently, there are several cisterns in Istanbul. It is now one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. It is especially popular during the summer when its cavernous depths stay wonderfully cool. The line to get in is a little long at times, but we found that it moved fast and quite frankly, this place is most definitely worth a gander.

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul

It is hard to believe the place exists down there. After a day spent wandering around the area of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia (Santa) Sophia, the Cistern Istanbul should be on your list of things to do that day. All of these are within easy walking distance to each other and can easily be done in one day without exhaustion. The Cistern is only 500 feet from the Santa Sophia.

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul

The Basilica Cistern’s roof is 65m wide and 143m long and is supported by 336 columns arranged in 12 rows. It once held 80,000 cubic meters of water, delivered via aqueducts from a reservoir near the Black Sea.

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul

The Cistern Istanbul was constructed using columns, capitals, and plinths from ruined buildings. It is quite amazing and something you don’t see every day. The Istanbul cistern was used as a location for the 1963 James Bond film From Russia With Love.

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul

Don’t miss the two columns in the northwestern corner supported by blocks carved into Medusa heads:

Cistern Istanbul

Medusa Head

This hidden, ancient reservoir beneath the city is well worth the visit.

Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul

Other Articles about Istanbul, Turkey:

Chora Church

Republic Day in Istanbul

The Cats of Istanbul

Cistern Istanbul 

 More street scenes from Istanbul