|This grandiose cistern, was built by emperor Justinian around 542. It is also called
Basilica Cistern, because there was a Basilica above it, as well as the "Sunken
Palace", which aptly reflects the magical atmosphere of this subterranean
building. The reservoir had a capacity of 80.000 cubic metres /
(2,800,000 cu ft) of water and provided the quarter around the Hagia Sophia as well as the
emperor's palace and later the Topkapi palace. On an area of 453 x 213
ft. (138 x 65 m) or 2,2 acres (8970 m²) a dim wood of 336 marble columns,
which support the up to 8 m high vault, is reflected in the water.
Walkways and atmospheric lighting make the Cistern a great tourist attraction,
which takes you back into ancient times.