Basilica Cistern – Istanbul, Turkey – Photo

categories: europe travel

One of the oddest sites in Istanbul is an underground cistern built by the Romans but not discovered by the Turks until after they had held the city for a hundred years. They started to wonder how some locals could fish from their basements and when they investigated they found this structure beneath the city near Hagia Sophia. In addition to the arches and the fish there are some remains from old pagan temples that were used in the bases of a couple of the columns. The one shown below is the head of Medusa. The cistern is the size of a cathedral and has 336 columns. It was pictured in both the 1963 James Bond film “From Russia with Love” and the 2009 film “The International” although its location was shown incorrectly in both films.

iExplore Turkey Experience

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.

One Response to “Basilica Cistern – Istanbul, Turkey – Photo”

Sealand Travel Club


This is absolutely amazing! I never knew about this before. Thank you for sharing the information and the pictures. Add another place to the list to travel! Anything related to archaeology and ancient structures are my weaknesses. Thanks again.

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