basilica cistern, blue mosque (again!) & aya sofya (again!)

...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... 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!


~jeet~ said...

the cistern makes me want to go even more!!! takpe..takpe..(tgh tahan sabar ni..)

dieya said...

u defnitely gonna hv a blast taking pics there!

Hjh Noralenna Abbas said...

Don't think group tour, will bring us to these beautiful places. Istanbul = historical beautiful buildings

JaJa'Z said...

akak rasa akak pernah tgk somewhere jek bacilica cictern tu..maybe dalam tv..sebab yang akak ingat sangat., dalam tu ada air..dan nak explore dalam tu memang jauh..dengan tiang2 kat dalam tu yang banyak2...

dieya tenung lama2 tak kepala medusa tu..jangan!!! kang bertukar menjadi si tanggang..hehheheh

dieya said...

aunty nora,
i don't think so too. places like this you have to explore on your own. group tour normally just bring you to a few major spots, often just passing them by on a bus!
istanbul is best explored the free & easy way :-)

k jaja,
basilica cistern ni mmg cantik sangat! rasa macam kembali ke zaman dahulu kala.
tak berani tengok lama2.. takut keras kat situ.. hahaha

daddyzkool said...

ikan apa yang ada di bawah tu...kepala medusa tu banyak ker...

dieya said...

kepala medusa tu ada 2 jek, mcm kat dlm gambar tu. ikan tu tak tau laa spesis apa, tak reti.. hehehe

PatinPasta said...

Waaaaah! Suka la! Entrance fee tak kena ek?

dieya said...

i bet u do! cistern tu ada entrance fee, but tak ingat berapa. not that expensive tho, berpatutan :-)

Keith Massey said...

I have a new theory about those Medusa heads:
Capital Offenses

dieya said...

i just checked out your theory. coolness!