The Yerebatan Cistern
This cistern, in the vicinity of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, is now a
museum. It still contains a few inches of water and the fish swimming around
testify to the quality of the water contained there. It is - or was - originally
fed from the forests about 14 miles away.
The most magnificent of Istanbul's
remaining cisterns this one was built by Justinian in the 6th century. It has
barrel arches with typical Byzantine-style brick work. There are a total of 336
columns supporting the roof and the cistern has a potential capacity of some
80,000 cubic metres of water. In some places the level of the water as it often
was can still be seen on the columns. The base (plinth) of one of the columns is
evidently in secondary use since it shows an enormous carved head of a Medusa
placed on its side.
If you remember the James Bond movie "From Russia with Love" you may recall
one or two scenes which were shot here in this cistern.
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