Interesting Facts about the Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, also known as the Yerebatan Cistern, is one of the most fascinating historical sites in Istanbul, Turkey. Built-in the 6th century during the Byzantine Empire, this massive underground water reservoir was used to provide water to the city in times of drought and siege. Today, the cistern is a popular tourist attraction and a must-visit spot for history lovers and architecture enthusiasts. In this blog post, we will explore some fascinating facts about the Basilica Cistern, its history, and its significance.

Interesting Facts About the Basilica Cistern
  • The cistern was built using recycled materials. Many of the marble columns used in the construction were recycled from earlier Roman structures, and some of the carvings on the columns are believed to be of Christian origin.

  • The cistern is capable of holding up to 80,000 cubic meters of water, enough to supply the city of Istanbul for several months.

  • The cistern features 336 marble columns, each measuring 9 meters high. Some of the columns have been damaged over the centuries, but most have been restored.

  • The cistern was used as a location in the James Bond movie "From Russia with Love," as well as in Dan Brown's novel "Inferno."

  • The cistern is home to a number of species of fish, including carp and eel, which swim in the shallow water.

  • The cistern is famous for its two Medusa heads, which are located at the base of two of the columns. It is believed that the heads were placed there to ward off evil spirits.

  • The cistern was used as a location for the video game "Assassin's Creed: Revelations."


What is the Basilica Cistern?

    The Basilica Cistern is an ancient underground water storage system located in Istanbul, Turkey. It was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

How big is the Basilica Cistern?

How was the Basilica Cistern constructed?

What is the admission fee for the Basilica Cistern?

What are the opening hours of the Basilica Cistern?

Is the Basilica Cistern accessible for people with disabilities?

Are there any UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey that are not well-known but worth visiting?

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