Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi

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Istanbul, Turkey
Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi - Medusa, Yerebatan Saray.
Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi - upside down medusa
Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi - fish and coins dropped by wishing tourists
Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi - Basilica Cistern with nice lighting effects

Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi Istanbul Reviews

irenem irenem
142 reviews
The Underground Palace. Feb 25, 2017
This sight is also in the Sultan Ahmet area. For some reason many tourists don't visit the Yerebatan Saray.

Perhaps they have not heard of it, don't notice it or think it won't be all that interesting. Personally I rather liked it. It's certainly something different.

Yerebatan Saray means underground palace. It is a huge underground cistern. It was built in the sixth century by around 7000 slaves during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. This was the largest underground water cistern in Byzantium and provided water for the Great Palace, which stood on the site of the present day Sultan Ahmet Mosque. After the Ottoman conquest in 1453, the cistern provided water to Topkapi Palace. The cistern continued to be used up to even quite modern times.

This underground cistern is approximately 453 feet by 212 feet, making it about 105,000 square feet in area. It is capable of holding 2,800,000 cubic feet of water. The ceiling of the cistern is supported by 336 marble columns, arranged in twelve rows of twenty-eight columns. Some of these columns are carved with tears.

This is said to be in memory of the slaves who died building the cistern. Two of the most famous columns in the cistern are carved with the head of the Medusa. One is placed sideways, one upside down, perhaps in the hope she does not turn any visitors brave enough to look at her into stone.

The water that used to fill the cistern came from the Belgrade Forest. This is about twelve miles north of

Istanbul. The water travelled to the cistern through the Valens Aqueduct, and the Maglova Aqueduct, which were built by the Emperor Justinian. Parts of these aquaducts can still be seen today.

This cistern was used to film a scene from the 1963 James Bond film 'From Russia with Love' and more recently featured in 'Inferno' based on the Dan Brown thriller.
Medusa, Yerebatan Saray.
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Coelho Coelho
3 reviews
A Must See Mar 08, 2011
The Sunken Palace or Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi is definitely a must see attraction that will truly captivate you by its sheer beauty and architecture structure.
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obtolentino obtolent…
2 reviews
Basilica Cistern or Sunken Palace Jan 28, 2009
Beneath Istanbul lies this ancient wonder of old Constantinople. Pool of underground water surrounded with marble doric and corinthian columns and walkways to roam around... just be careful, some parts can be very slippery... Nice ambient lighting and sound effects give you the chills. Check out for the upside-down Medusa at the back of the cistern.
Basilica Cistern with nice lightin…
upside down medusa
fish and coins dropped by wishing …
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