Sounds of Urban Life | SoUL is in Istanbul. To experience SoUL, all you need is our app, a headset, comfortable shoes and a curious mind. Enjoy Istanbul!

Yerebatan Sarnici (Basilica Cistern)

Always cool and serene…

Basilica Cistern


There are several hundred cisterns beneath Istanbul. The Basilica Cistern is the largest of them and was built in the 6th century by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. This giant maze exceeds 9800 square meters and could hold so much water that it was a strategic asset for defending Constantinople, which was often attacked and needed large water supplies to overcome those sieges.

Don’t be surprised by the many fish inside. It is believed that the reason for the fish was so that Byzantines could tell whether or not their enemy had poisoned their water supply that was transported via aqueducts from outside.

The cistern can be seen in the 1963 James Bond movie, Fom Russia with Love as well as in the 2011 video game Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

Go to the cistern, it does not disappoint.

We like: Head of Medusa.

Have your say