The construction which was built by Emperor Justinian I in the 6th Century AD is located in Sultanahmet,only a walking distance to Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosquewhich are placed in Hippodrome. Yerebatan which has been called Basilica Cistern due to its close location to Hagia Sophia ,for centuries has been built by caving the rocky ground 25 meters under the surface. The many columns in the cistern which is 138 meters long and 64 meters wide made the building be called yerebatan (sunken) palace by the public. The cistern ,which was built to find a solution to the water shortage experienced in Istanbul, is the biggest cistern ever found in Istanbul. It is known that the water provided from Belgrad forest(in Sariyer) is brought to the cistern via the Cebecikoy aqueduct. There are total 336 columns in the cistern which has a water capacity of total 80.000 cubic meters. On some of these columns there are ornamental elements and two of them are adorned with Medusa Heads.
It is known that during the Ottoman Empire the water inside the cistern was only used for watering the gardens in Istanbul. The restoration of the cistern took place between 1985-1988. In the cistern which became a magical place with catwalks between the columns and light effects, rain water is collected and several art events such as the 8. Bienal of Istanbul which was organised in the year 2003 are organized. The Cistern is open to visit every day except Tuesdays.
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