The Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı) traces its roots on the historical peninsula to 542 C.E. Built by Emperor Justinian in order to supply the water of the Great Palace, it is based on an area of 9800 square meters.
It is notable for the 336 pillars which rise up from the water to the ceiling and the Cistern is Istanbul’s largest. The two Medusa head statues at the base of two of the pillars are particularly popular in the construction
Constantly under repairs and restorations since the Ottoman period, the Cistern was finally opened to the public in 1987. The Cistern is a spot you should not miss on your travel to Istanbul, and it frequently hosts artistic events that are well worth a visit.
The Basilica Cistern is open every day from 09:00-18:30. Because of the high level of humidity inside the Cistern, individuals with asthma and other respiratory disorders should enter with caution.