Travel Photo #3: The Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

My travel photo for the day was taken inside the Basilica Cistern during my time in Istanbul. This place was super cool and definitely worth the wait to get in. Built in the 6th century, this giant submerged cistern was constructed beneath the site of a much older basilica.

“In 1940, several of the structures built on and around the Basilica Cistern were nationalized and a neat building was constructed at the entrance of the Cistern by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. It was also exposed to a wide range of cleaning  process between 1985-1988. Thus dirty water and tons of mud were removed and a promenade platform was built in the cistern. After the cleaning process was completed, the two Medusa heads, masterpieces of the First Age Art of Statuary were used as pedestals at the bottom of the two columns in the northwest corner of the cistern. It is not known exactly when or for what purpose the were antique Medusa and Gorgon heads were brought to the Basilica Cistern.” (source)

Medusa Pillar Heads

Medusa Pillar Heads

One very poignant memory that I have from this location was the magnitude of large, brown fish swimming in the channels below the walking paths. Gross!

Further Reading:
The Basilica Cistern wiki page
Basilica Cistern History (Places to go in Turkey)
Basilica Cisterns of Istanbul


4 responses to “Travel Photo #3: The Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

  1. Pingback: Unearthed: 16th April 2013 « The Archaeology of Tomb Raider·

  2. I absolutely missed this in my last trip to Istanbul. The photo you makes it seem like a magical place. I’ll make sure to check it out the next time I go. Where are you off to next?

  3. Pingback: Discovery of Ottoman Era Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey | Imponderabilia·

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