The Basilica Cistern allows holidaymakers to explore an underwater world full of delightful architecture and history at every turn. The largest of the underground cisterns Istanbul is famous for, the sixth century construction is about as far away as you can get from the sun and beaches of a traditional holiday in Turkey.
Visitors wishing to explore this underground paradise should stay at nearby accommodation in Istanbul. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Asia sits just a short walk away from the crossing point between Europe and Asia, allowing guests to take advantage of the best of both sides of the city.
Exploring the Basilica Cistern
The site has been host to important structures since the 3rd century, although it was Emperor Justinian who enlarged the underground area to create the spectacular Basilica Cistern that exists today.
The Basilica Cistern is home to a world of underground treasures, with the entire 9,800 square metre vault held up by 52 dramatic marble pillars. One of the most debated architectural points is two of these pillar bases which are carved with inverted visages of Medusa, with historians still unable to decipher their exact meaning.
Located just to the southwest of the Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern was designed to carry water to the Great Palace of Constantinople and tourists can now explore these historic passageways.
As well as visiting the Basilica Cistern guests of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Asia can enjoy the sights and sounds of other attraction such as the Beylerbeyi Palace and Princes' Islands. The hotel offers some of the most comprehensive facilities in Istanbul, with holidaymakers are able to dine at the Core Grill and Bar before pampering themselves with a Turkish bath or sauna.