Nestled beneath the bustling streets of Istanbul, the Underground Cistern, also known as the Basilica Cistern, stands as a captivating testament to the city’s rich history and architectural ingenuity. 

Dating back to the 6th century during the Byzantine era, this subterranean marvel was commissioned by Emperor Justinian I to ensure a stable water supply for the Great Palace and other structures in the vicinity. 

The cistern’s cavernous chambers, supported by an impressive array of Corinthian columns salvaged from various ancient structures, create an otherworldly atmosphere as visitors wander through the dimly lit space. Perhaps the most famous feature is the Medusa heads, two intricately carved marble sculptures at the base of two columns, adding an air of mystery and fascination to this remarkable underground reservoir. Today, the Underground Cistern stands as both a historical treasure and a unique cultural attraction, inviting visitors to explore the hidden depths of Istanbul’s past.