Its Turkish name Yerebatan Sarayi translates to the “sunken Palace” and the basilica cistern in Istanbul is definitely a unique landmark. In the center of the old part of Istanbul amongst the famous Hagia Sophia and blue mosque, the Basilica hides 500 feet below, and is a brilliant place to have a break from the city heat.

Built in the 6th century, this large cistern was the water filtration system for the palace of Constantinople and the surrounding city. Atmospherically lit, spend and hour or so wondering through the cistern, and spot the famous carved heads of Medusa, and the schools of goldfish that inhabit its waters.

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