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Basilica Cistern

Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye

+90 212 512 15 70

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The final sight on Sultanahmet’s holy trinity tour is the Basilica Cistern or “Sunken Palace,” a subterranean well that is located southwest of the Hagia Sophia. The cistern, known as Yerebatan Sarayi in Turkish, was first constructed by Constantine then rebuilt and enlarged by Justinian, was used to store water for the Great Palace of Constantinople and the Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest of 1453. The underground site, reminiscent of a cathedral, was neglected for centuries but has been renovated for public touring. A narrow stone staircase leads to an eerily lit catwalk that crosses the space, which is filled with water, giant ghostly fish and a forest of 336 columns. If it looks familiar that’s because James Bond rowed across it in From Russia with Love. Indagare members can contact the bookings team to arrange for a private guide.

Written by Indagare

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