Istanbul’s Basilica Cistern in photos
My trip to Istanbul so far has been spectacular. Perhaps the main attraction, the food has contributed immensely to this culinary adventure. Istanbul, however, is not all about food and historic bazaars. One of my favourite attractions was the Basilica cistern, an underground cistern built in the 6th century during the city’s Byzantine era.
The cistern which was used as a location for the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love is worth visiting if you ever find yourself in Istanbul. Inside, the atmosphere is somewhat eerie and gloomy, but also cool and serene. As you look down into the still water you’d see different sized fish (carp). Seeing how the lamps had illuminated the columns and turned them into golden glows was my favourite scene.
In the north east part of the basilica cistern are two column bases carved in the image of Medusa. Seeing the two heads brought back memories of watching, what was then the biggest movie hit in my childhood, Clash if the Titans, the Head of Medusa. Legend has it that the two heads were brought into the cistern from a Roman building but no one knows when.
The Basilica cistern is just a stone’s throw away from some of Istanbul’s major tourist attractions, notably Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. I visited it right after I had spent some time in the Hagia Sophia. For the photographers amongst you, try as much as possible not to use flash! You would not get the effects of the golden glows if you do.