BASILICA CISTERN (YEREBATAN SARAYI)
Petit Futé's opinion on BASILICA CISTERN (YEREBATAN SARAYI)
Come and discover this real "buried palace" of the Byzantine period. This cistern is one of the city's most important monuments.
Literally "the cistern buried underground", according to its Turkish name Yerebatan Sarnıcı, the Basilica Cistern is one of the most impressive remains of the Byzantine period. In summer, this visit is also an opportunity for a good breath of fresh air. Built under Justinian in the 6th century, it was originally used to supply the Grand Palais and the baths of Zeuxippe and then the palace of Topkapı. Fifteen centuries later, it has lost none of its mysticism and majesty. Immersed in darkness, the 336 columns of the building walk their silhouette to the rhythm of a gentle melody, making the atmosphere of the place unique and muffled; only the fish come to disturb these stone giants by tickling their feet! The Basilica Tank has been renovated several times in recent years and is now in excellent condition. Inside, one whispers without even realizing it, for fear of breaking the magic or, who knows, awakening the anger of Medusa, terrifying Gorgon carved in two blocks of stone. According to Greek mythology, Medusa is one of the three Gorgons, the name given to this terrifying trio of female monsters. Medusa, with her snake head, is one of the three sisters who has the power to gorgonize (paralyze or hypnotize) those who look at her, hence the verb "meditate". The jellyfish head seen in the cistern could be a symbol of protection, but it would more likely have been recovered from a Roman monument.
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Opening time and information on BASILICA CISTERN (YEREBATAN SARAYI)
Open from 9am to 8.30pm in summer, 5.30pm in winter. Input: 20 TL. Free for children under 8 years old. Müzekart invalid.
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