...continued from previous entry.
After double, triple and quadruple confirming that the sickly one was no longer sick, we continued with our city exploration. From the hotel, we walked to Yerebatan Sarnıcı (a.k.a. Basilica Cistern), located somewhere opposite Aya Sofya. We actually wanted to visit it on the first day, but somehow we managed to pass by the place a few times without noticing it! Anyway, to our defense, the signage on the entrance wasn’t that obvious, to add to the fact that the cistern was built underground, making it easy to miss on the first glance.
The cistern was built between the 3rd and 4th century. Following destruction during a riot, it was rebuilt and enlarged in year 532 - that was nearly 1500 years ago!
The view as we entered. Wooden platforms had been added between the columns for visitors to walk on.
Amazing view of the ancient architecture.
Decorated columns supporting the arches.
Fishes swimming freely at the base.
Photography exhibition along the platform.
To infinity and beyond!
Amongst the so many columns, the most interesting spot in the cistern had to be the “Medusa’s Head”. Medusa was a female monster in Greek mythology whose hair was made of snakes. Yes, she had snakes growing out of her head, imagine that! Anyone who looked directly at her would turn into stone. She was beheaded by Perseus, a Greek hero who used a mirror to look at her reflection, therefore managed to kill her.
Statues of Medusa’s head were used as the base of two pillars. One was upside down...
...and the other one was sideways. They were placed that way so that whoever looked at the heads wouldn’t turn into stone!
Endless rows of columns.
A column decorated with “nazar boncuğu”, an amulet to protect against evil eye (bad luck).
We got out of the cistern through another end, which was a little further down the road. Then we walked back towards Blue Mosque and checked out the rows of shops alongside the tram track for something to eat. After much deliberation, we decided to go for kebab at a restaurant directly facing the mosque.
My meal for the day: “Adana kebab” - it came with cayenne pepper. “Ayran” - a typical Turkish yoghurt drink.
We then crossed the road to capture the view of Blue Mosque as day turned into night...
...as well as a glimpse of Aya Sofya. Amazing!
Standing in front of the Blue Mosque, bracing the chilly night...
...just to capture pretty photos!
Returned to the hotel for our final night’s stay in Istanbul. Day 4 - Done!