[10 MARCH 2016, THURSDAY]
My 3rd stop of the day is a rather unique place. Unique because this is a place that you either pay to see it (20 TL), or do not pay to not see it. There is no option where you do not pay and yet see it.
The Basilica Cistern, ladies and gentlemen. A cistern means a covered reservoir, and this place’s Turkish name is Yerebatan Sarayi. Sunken Palace. So you now understand why if you do not pay and choose to stay outside, above ground, you’ll get to see nothing of this place.
The reason this place is called the Basilica Cistern is because when this place was first built, there was a basilica on top of the cistern. But the basilica was destroyed by a fire and they never got to rebuild it. So now, only the cistern is left.
To be honest, there’s not much to see. The place is basically a few pathways surrounded by water in the dark, and you kind of just wander around. Also, the place being dark is probably another reason why there’s nothing much to see. This place is mostly about feeling with all your other senses.
Don’t be fooled by my pictures. This is all thanks to my camera having superpowers to turn the dark into light. When you are actually here, the place is really dark. I mean really dark. Imagine going out to the streets in a moonless night and half of the street lamps are not working. That’s how it feels to be in here.
The only things to see in here are the two columns with Medusa heads at the base.
There was a tour group nearby so I sneaked up to listen to what the tour guide was saying. Apparently, the reason why these Medusa heads are so popular is because one was built upside down and another was built sideways, and according to the tour guide, this is a very big mystery worth the intrigue.
I thought it was all a bunch of crap. The ancient architects probably just wanted to be playful and creative when designing these columns. They’re probably laughing out loud in the heavens seeing these columns being glorified to lure in the tourists.
Apart from these Medusa heads, there’s… nothing else actually. More water, more dark pathways, more columns.
I get it, this place is unique. It feels completely different compared to sightseeing in the Topkapi Palace for example. What I don’t get is how so many tourists leave comments in TripAdvisor saying this place is so worth it and that there’s so much to see in here.
Dude, it’s so dark in here, you can’t see much at all!
I suppose I’m glad that I came to this underground cistern, and I’d agree that this is an interesting place to
see visit. Shall I recommend it? Hmm… that’s a tough question. You read what I thought about this place and make your own decision… 🙄