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Istanbul Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Istanbul

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Interior view of the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Basilica Cistern is a gigantic underground cistern built in ancient Constantinople, the old  Byzantine Empire's capital. It is one of the most spectacular landmark still visible today in Istanbul.

It is located west of St. Sophia, between the Mesa in the south and the Theotokos Church of Chalkoprateia.


History

The cistern was built by Emperor Justinian in the basement of a large porticoed building, the Basilikè, after the latter's fire during the Nika sedition in 532. Prokopius of Caesarea describes at length in the Buildings the reconstruction of the Basilica and the reasons for the construction of this vast cistern:

'Digging deep into this square and one of the porticoes, the one facing south, the Emperor Justinian created a reservoir suitable for summer containing the overabundant waters of the other seasons'... read more arrow

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The Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.

The Hagia Sophia is located in Istanbul, Turkey. The place is unique not only due to the beauty it carries but also because it has changed in its construction and development over time, but it has also switched its religion. These words are true if you are talking about Hagia Sophia. Rulers from more than one religion have ruled Turkey, and everyone has tried to leave its marks forever on Hagia Sophia. The building has been a Basilica for so many years. It was used as a mosque under Muslim rule. Nowadays, it acts as a Museum due to the culturally rich and historically important events this building has witnessed. It is a very commonly visited place in Turkey.


The building itself is very famous. The fame basically comes from a huge dome... read more arrow

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* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Istanbul sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Istanbul by visiting the individual Istanbul attraction pages.