UNDERGROUND CISTERN This cistern is thought to
have been built after the Nika revolt in 532 AD. It was known as the
Basilica Cistern during the Roman period, as there was a Stoa Basilica
above the pre-existing one at the time. After the conquest of the city
by the Ottoman Turks, it was forgotten of and nobody knew that it existed.
Re-discovered in 1545, it was used to water the gardens of Topkapi Palace.
Today it has a rather eery and mystical ambiance. Clever spotlighting
makes the water shimmer with coloured dancing lights and the water ripples
from an occasional fish swishing its tail in exuberance.
Choose from a range of private Istanbuul tours at www.toursistanbul.com conducted by official Istanbul tour guides.