The Basilica Cistern is one huge room that measures 138m long by 65m wide. This former subterranean structure was used to supply the Topkapi Palace with water. Built in the 4th century by Constantine, it was later expanded on the request of Justinian. The silence inside is stunning, you can hear the water trickling over the rocks, accompanied by a clever display of light. These two elements give it a very special atmosphere. The cistern is supported by 336 imposing columns, recycled from older pagan temples. Due to the great acoustics, concerts are regularly held here. It is open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm. The entrance fee is 10 liras, or less than £4.
The Basilica Cistern is composed of 336 columns divided into 12 rows of 28, which makes it look like a forest of tree trunks.© Marco Toninelli / EASYVOYAGE
Two heads of the Medusa Gorgon serve to hold up the pillars. Nevertheless, the fact that they are not right side up makes one think that they also played an esoteric role.© Marco Toninelli / EASYVOYAGE
The damp half-light filled with the sound of classical music and water slowly dripping does not leave visitors indifferent.© Marco Toninelli / EASYVOYAGE
Yerebatan is undoubtedly the largest and most beautiful of the cisterns in Constantinople.© Marco Toninelli / EASYVOYAGE
Fitting background music brings new life to this engulfed cathedral. Concerts are regularly held here in summer.© Marco Toninelli / EASYVOYAGE