Underground Cisterns | Underground Bascilica Cistern - Istanbul travel information guide

...... ...... ...... ......

Underground Cistern Information

medusa column inside the cisternThe Underground Bascilica Cistern or 'Sunken Palace' today is a atmospherically spotlighted massive underground water cavern of beautiful arches and Roman support columns and their watery reflections, and used to be the Byzantine city's main water storage under siege or in hard times...


Information on Underground Cistern, Istanbul - Istanbul travel information guideThe Underground Bascilica Cistern (or Yerebatan Sarayi in Turkish, meaning 'Sunken Palace') is a great underground chamber used in times of siege and is the largest and most beautiful Byzantine cistern of its kind of several hundered lying under the city of Istanbul.

Originally built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century after the Nika revolt, it later became known as the Basilica Cistern during the Roman period, as there was a Stoa Basilica above the pre-existing one at the time.

After the conquest of the city by the Ottoman Turks, it was forgotten of and nobody knew that it existed. Re-discovered in 1545, it was used to water the gardens of Topkapi Palace.

Comprised of different materials from around the Byzantine Empire, interesting columns and carvings such as the Medusa head (pictured right) can also be seen.

Today it has a rather eerie and mystical ambiance. Clever spotlighting makes the water shimmer with colored dancing lights and the water ripples from an occasional fish swishing its tail in exuberance.

Back to all Istanbul Attractions | View Map of Istanbul

Next Attraction: Blue Mosque


Plan Your Tour Now

See As Much as Possible in 1 Day!

Ultimate Shore Excursion in Istanbul

Old City & Bosphorus Highlights in 1 Day Tour
Don't miss the most comprehensive tour of Istanbul visiting the must-see highlights with pick up at your cruise ship or hotel.

Starting from only
56 € Euro per person
enquire button

Or get more information & prices of daily city tours, sample itineraries and hotels, please just email us today. All requests welcome.

What Our Guests Say:

We had a most wonderful time and appreciate the arrangements that you made for us. We came away with the most wonderful impression of Turkey and its people. We would recommend your company highly.
A.Cohen, FL, USA
Our guide was superb: knowledgeable, articulate, charismatic and thoroughly in tune with our needs and interests.
Monica.C., CA, USA

More Information

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Accreditations & Licenses:

Fully Licensed by:
TURSAB Tour Operator License No: A-5339
& Istanbul Chamber of Shipping Member


Why Tour With Us?

  • Daily guided & custom tours
  • Choice of central hotels offered
  • Professional & reliable service
  • Accredited member of TURSAB
  • Excellent Testimonials & Reviews

TURSAB License No: A-5339