As we are already in Istanbul visiting the old Hagia Sophia, let me take you to a place near by. This place was built in the same time as Hagia Sophia by the same emperor Justinian I. The Romans were good at designing things like aqueducts, the place where we are going today is actually a big water reservoir called Basilica Cistern or the Sunken Palace how is named by Ottomans. The name Basilica came from the fact that on top of the place where it is, it was situated a Basilica, that was a cultural center made in the IV century. Near the Basilica was also a nice garden.
Take my hand and let’s go inside of the Sunken Palace, we can admire here the big beautiful columns, almost like a forest as they are quite many 336 columns. The inside of the palace as you can see is quite high, the columns are 9 m tall. Most of the columns are Ionic and Corinthian style just a few are Dorian style. As we walk you can see there is Medusa head that sits upside down. As most of the materials that were used at the construction of the Sunken Palace were spoils from other place all over the Empire, Medusa head here can be just a fit column or also can be put here with a meaning as the Emperor was a Christian one, that could mean that the Greek Gods times were long gone.
If you look there we can see a Hen Eye, it is thought that was made as a symbol for the slaves that lost their lives while they were working on the Palace. More than 7000 slaves were working here.
The interesting part of this Water Cistern called also the Sunken Palace story, was that when in 1453 the city was conquered by Ottomans, they didn’t actually knew about this place. So for a time this was unused as nobody that should know about it knew. Around 1540, a french guy that was paying attention to people stories discovered the Palace. People that were living nearby sometimes they had water in their basements , some actually could also go fishing in their basements, this caught the french man attention so he discovered the Sunken Palace , that’s called like this as it looks as you can see as a beautiful palace.
But how Ottomans preferred more the fresh water they still didn’t use it . Today this place can be visited as you can see. This place started to be visited even more after Dan Brown book, in the Sunken Palace takes place a part of the action, a mortal virus called Inferno is hidden beneath the Medusa head. I hope you enjoyed this walk and the view!
Here is a video that I found about it :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPxB-uDbLYE
The pictures are not mine, they are gathered from all over the internet.