A Comprehensive Guide to the Basilica Cistern: History, Architecture, and Nearby Dining Options
The Basilica Cistern, also known as the Yerebatan Cistern, is one of the most impressive architectural feats of ancient Constantinople, and a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Istanbul. This underground water storage system was built in the 6th century AD, during the reign of Emperor Justinian I, and was used to provide water to the nearby Great Palace and other public buildings. Today, the cistern is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at its grandeur and learn about its history. In this article, we will explore the history and architecture of the Basilica Cistern, as well as recommend some restaurants near basilica cistern and cafes for visitors looking for a bite to eat.
History and Architecture of the Basilica Cistern
The Basilica Cistern is located in the historical district of Sultanahmet, near the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace. It was constructed in the 6th century AD, during the reign of Emperor Justinian I, and is one of the largest cisterns in Istanbul, capable of holding over 80,000 cubic meters of water. The cistern was built to provide water to the Great Palace and other public buildings in the city, and was fed by an aqueduct that brought water from the Belgrade Forest, nearly 20 kilometers away.
The cistern is supported by a forest of 336 marble columns, arranged in 12 rows of 28 columns each. Many of these columns were recycled from earlier buildings, and feature a variety of decorative styles, including Corinthian and Doric. The ceiling of the cistern is made of brick, and is supported by arches that span the columns. The cistern was designed to be as efficient as possible, with a system of channels and conduits that allowed water to flow in and out of the cistern without disturbing the columns.
Over the centuries, the Basilica Cistern fell into disrepair, and was used for a variety of purposes, including as a dumping ground for trash and debris. In the 16th century, during the Ottoman period, the cistern was renovated and converted into a water storage facility once again. In the 1980s, the cistern was opened to the public as a tourist attraction, and has since become one of the most popular sights in Istanbul.
Restaurants and Cafes Near the Basilica Cistern
After exploring the Basilica Cistern, visitors may be looking for a place to grab a bite to eat. Fortunately, the area around the cistern is home to many excellent restaurants and cafes, serving a variety of Turkish and international cuisine.
One popular option is the Balıkçı Sabahattin, located just a few blocks from the cistern. This seafood restaurant has been in operation since 1927, and is famous for its fresh fish dishes and traditional Ottoman-style decor. Another nearby option is the Hamdi Restaurant, which serves a variety of Turkish and Middle Eastern dishes, including kebabs, meze, and baklava.
For those looking for a quick bite or a cup of coffee, there are also many cafes near basilica cistern and bakeries in the area. One popular option is the Hafız Mustafa 1864 Cafe and Patisserie, which has been serving Turkish coffee and sweets for over a century. Another nearby cafe is the Pierre Loti Cafe, named after the French writer and traveler who was a frequent visitor to Istanbul. This cafe offers stunning views of the city and the Bosphorus, and is a great place to relax after a busy day