One of the things I have loved about having my cousin Ashley and her family join us on the summer family cruise is that she loves to research the places we go. She is the one who found out about swimming with the dolphins in Sevastopol. Believe me, I am more than thrilled to turn over some of the "cruise director" responsibilities to her!!!
I really had done NO research on Istanbul, so when she suggested visiting the Basilica Cisterns, I jumped at the chance.
Which way do we go??
It's Sunday, and traffic is brutal.
We had a short wait in line....
Time enough to learn that the cistern was built in the sixth century to store water for the city.
Once underground, it takes my eyes a few minutes to get accustomed to the dark.
But the cistern is a place of great beauty- light and shadow and reflection. Superbly staged.
The stillness of the water makes it almost impossible to see where the water stops and the reflections begin.
Fish thrive underground in the cool water.
The darkness made photography difficult...I would love to go back there with lots of time and a tripod!
In the northwest corner of the cistern, two columns with Medusa heads were repurposed in the building of the cistern. Roman recycling!
Why placed sideways and upside down? Supposedly to negate the power of the gorgon's gaze.
The Basilica Cistern is a must on any tour of Istanbul. I can't wait to return!