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"The Sunken Palace" Turkey Things to Do Tip by deecat

Turkey Things to Do: 1,137 reviews and 1,882 photos

  The Sunken Palace
by deecat

Just off Sultanahmet Square between Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque, you will find a small entrance to the Sunken Palace[Yerebatan Saray]. It's easy to miss, so watch carefully.

Once you are inside, the dimly lit underground cavern is amazing. It overwhelmed me. It was built in the sixth century as a cistern to store water. It was discovered by a Frenchman in the middle of the sixteenth century.

It's supported by 336 columns and contains 80,000 cubic yards of water! The cistern was restored in 1987 so visitors could explore the cavern on walkways over the water.

I found it so "cool" that two of the columns have Medusa heads as decorations. Most experts assume that this cistern used materials from the ruins of older buildings.

It takes awhile for your eyes to adjust to this eerie cavern, but once you do, it is so fascinating.

Directions: Just off Sultanahmet Square between Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 12, 2005
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