Istanbul Sultanahmet Square last part; Basilica Cistern and Medusa Heads

4-days Turkey Summer Solo Escapade
June 27 to July 03, 2014

Istanbul 3rd part; A Walk to Topkapi Palace

How to go to Basilica Cistern;
Basilican Cistern is inside the Sultanahmet Square of Istanbul which is 50km distance from Sabiha Gokcen Airport and 27km from Ataturk Airport. This place is just at the right side of the Hagia Sophia. Admission fee is 20TRY and NOT included in Istanbul Museum Pass. Photography and video taking is permitted inside. Monopod is allowed but the tripod is strictly prohibited.

Many of Istanbul’s historical gems, mostly consisting of Byzantine and Ottoman-built monuments are in Old City. Most are located a short walk away from, if not immediately on the edges of, Sultanahmet Square.


Basilica Cistern is constructed in 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinianus, the most prosperous period of the Eastern Roman Empire. The cistern is 70m in width and 140m in length. The dome, covering an area of 9,800sqm is supported by 336 marble columns arranged in 12 rows each consisting of 28 columns placed t a distance of 4.9m. from one another. The cistern is surrounded by a 4m thick wall of brick and the mortar used in constructions is very special and waterproof. The water reserved in the cistern was transported from the Belgrad forest which is 19km from the city. The 2 Medusa head columns found in the Northwest corner of the cistern are the great examples of the Roman age art sculptures.

inside the Basilica Cistern

inside the Basilica Cistern

inside the Basilica Cistern

inside the Basilica Cistern

inside the Basilica Cistern

inside the Basilica Cistern

inside the Basilica Cistern

It is not known exactly where these two heads came from, but there is humor saying that they were brought here after being removed an antique building of late Roman period. Another mystery is about why one of the Medusa's heads is upside down while the other is tilted to one side. But it is commonly accepted by Scientists that they were place in that way deliberately. If one wants to go deeper in wanting to know more about the history of the Mythological rumor of Medusa one can come across the following story.

It is said that Medusa was one of the 3 underground gorgona giant sisters. Out of these 3, only Medusa was mortal and she had the power of transforming people who looked at here into stones. It is said that in the old times the statues and pictures of Medusa were placed in private places to keep them away from bad omens.

In another rumor, Medusa is said to be a girl who was very much proud of her black eyes, long hair and beautiful body. For a long time she was in love with Perseus, the son of Zeus. At the same time Goddess Athena was in love with Perseus and she became jealous of Medusa's love. For that reason she turned Medusa's beautiful hair into horrible snakes. Then whoever looked at Medusa turned into stone. When Perseus saw that Medusa was bewitched, he cut her head then won many battles by showing his beloved one's head to enemies. From that time onwards it is said that Byzanthine sword handles were styled with Medusa's head.

inside the Basilica Cistern's Medusa Heads

inside the Basilica Cistern's Medusa Heads

inside the Basilica Cistern's Medusa Heads

inside the Basilica Cistern's Medusa Heads

I left Sultanahmet Square around 1400H for a hostel booked minibus ride (fare of 15TRY) to Istanbul Ataturk Airport (27km distance) with almost an hour travel time including traffic jam. Immigration Officer took my e-visa hard copy and did not returned back. No questions asked during the encounter, everything was relax.



0 comments:

Post a Comment

much of thanks for visiting the viewing deck ^_^

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...