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Photographer's Note

Hi dear Trekearth friends

Last Friday, I was in the Byzantine Cistern located at Sultanahmet Square in the Istanbul city.

It’s close to HAGIA SOPHIA Cathedral/Mosque and BLUE Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). Turks call 'Yerebatan Sarayi' (The Sunken Palace).
Well, however it is not a palace at all... it is a huge water storage place.

This cistern was wnlarged by Justinian in the 6th century, has fine brick vaulting supported by 336 Corinthian columns. It is the largest covered cistern in Istanbul, dating back to the Roman times. Its dimensions are 140 by 70 meters, and it is capable of holding 80.000 cubic meters of water.

The Basilica Cistern was actually the reservoir for the prodigious quantity of water required for the Byzantine Great Palace, and it is thought to date back to the reign of Justinian in 532. Later in Ottoman years it has been use for conception of complex of Topkapi Palace.

Cistern has a huge structure, measuring 140m (460ft) long and 70m (230ft) across, and it is virtually empty; only a couple of feet of water line the bottom. Some wooden walkways have been constructed for visitors. The atmosphere inside is so quite and beautiful. Also it is very nice place for cooling down after being outside for a hot summer day

The bases of two pillars have recorded the Medusa head, the woman who, second a legend, had its hair transformed into snakes. One of the images is upside-down and to another one, of side. Nobody, until today, obtained to reason because the Romans had decided to place the images in this order.

You can find a photo of the Medusa head in the Workshop.

This fabulous cistern was used for entertainment purpose in earlier years as a film set of the movie 'From Russia with Love', with actor James Bond.

In the cistern the light and music is fantastic, don't miss to visit! Very nice classical music accompanies the sound of endlessly dripping water.

YEREBATAN SARAYI is open every day, except Tuesdays. Ph. (212) 522 12 59

You pay 10 Turkish liras to visit (more or less 6 euros)

Enjoy it !

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Additional Photos by Aires dos Santos (AiresSantos) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6708 W: 209 N: 14053] (56155)
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