Basilica Cistern İstanbul


The Basilica Cistern was built in 532 by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. It is the largest cistern in Istanbul, descended by a stone staircase with 52 steps . It was used as a water reservoir in the Byzantine period and is used as a museum today . In our article, we present you with detailed information about its history, construction, story, the works in it, where and transportation information.

The cistern is also known as the Basilica Palace among the people. It is also known as the Basilica Cistern , as there used to be a Basilica in this area. The basilica was called the royal palaces in ancient times.

Information About the Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern has a water capacity of 100 thousand tons . The length of the cistern is 140 m and its width is 70 m. The cistern, which has a total area of ​​9,800 m2 , is descended with a 52-step staircase made of stone .

There are 336 marble columns . Most of the columns are cylindrical. The capitals of the columns have different features, some of them have Corinthian style , while others reflect Doric style .

The walls of the cistern are 4.80 m thick. Its walls and floor are laid with bricks and thickly plastered with Khorasan mortar . Thanks to this mortar, the cistern is waterproof.

A cistern is a natural or specially made underground water reservoir that collects rainwater.

Basilica Cistern Video Footage

It was built in 532 by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. It was built in order to meet the water needs of the palace and the people living in the region.

The Basilica Cistern was used for a while after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453. The water need of the garden of Topkapı Palace was met from this cistern.

The cistern was not used after the facilities established by the Ottomans in the city, since stagnant water was thought to be unsuitable for cleaning in the Ottoman period.

Basilica Cistern Medusa Head Statue

Medusa Statue is one of the important works of sculpture art of the Roman period. The head of Medusa attracts great attention with its legend. It is not known when the statue was brought to the cistern.

Researchers think that this statue was brought only to be used as a column base , that is, as a square base for a column. However, there is a story defended by the view that thinks that the purpose of placing the Head of Medusa here is different .

The Story of the Basilica Cistern

Medusa is one of the three sisters who are Gorgona , or fearsome female monster , in Greek mythology . Medusa has a special power. She turns those who look at her into stone. In ancient times, Gorgona statues were placed in places that needed to be protected. This is why a statue of the head of Medusa was placed in the Basilica cistern .

Where is the Basilica Cistern?

The cistern is located in the Sultanahmet district in the Fatih district of Istanbul . The cistern, which is in a historical district, is close to attractions such as Hagia Sophia , Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Square .

How to go ?

The most logical way to go to the Basilica Cistern would be to use the tram line. It is possible to walk to the cistern when you come to the Sultanahmet stop with the tram line running between Kabataş and Zeytinburnu.

Those who will come by bus can come to the cistern by any bus going to Sultanahmet. Or they can come to the Grand Bazaar by bus and walk 10-15 minutes to reach the cistern.

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