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Basilica Cistern

Listed under Ancient Monuments in Istanbul, Turkey.

  • Photo of Basilica Cistern
  • Photo of Basilica Cistern
  • Photo of Basilica Cistern
  • Photo of Basilica Cistern
  • Photo of Basilica Cistern
  • Photo of Basilica Cistern
  • Photo of Basilica Cistern
  • Photo of Basilica Cistern
Photo of Basilica Cistern
Photo by flickr user Sitomon
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The ancient cisterns that run under Istanbul are almost to beautiful to have such a utilitarian name, but they were used as cisterns in the 6th Century during the city's build. This is the largest example, and open to the public, and provided water for the Great Palace of Constantinople, which could be why the design is so ornate. The basic layout is a vast underground chamber about 143 metres by 65 metres, supported by a forest of Ionic and Corinthian columns, some of them nicely engraved. The two most famous columns feature Medusa, though she has her head on the side. The real reason the decoration is so good is that the columns were probably recycled off other monuments.

Written by  Eric Hallum.

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