Our Spooky, Historical, & Fashionable Adventures – Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

Just a few minutes from the Agia Sofia in Istanbul, we stumbled upon the super cool and fun Basilica Cistern. I had read about the famous “upside down head of Medusa” but wasn’t sure where it was. After heading down a dark and damp staircase, we entered the enormous underground cistern from the Byzantine period. It was built in the 6th century and has 336 columns that support the ceiling. The highlight of the visit for most is the upside down head of Medusa carved out of a column. It’s fun to just wander around in wonder at the size and age of the cistern – how did it last so long without caving in??!! Some of our modern buildings don’t last more than a few decades -this has lasted over 140 decades!

Trevor loved exploring the dark nooks and damp corridors and watching the hundreds of fish swimming around. Kaitlin loved the Byzantine architecture and was thinking about the adventure novel she is writing and how she could use the cistern as part of the story. Cassidy loved dressing up in the beautiful Turkish costume and felt like a model with all the camera flashes and different poses. This sight had something for all the kids – spookiness for Trevor, history for Kaitlin, and fashion for Cassidy! They were all happy, so of course I was happy!


Inside the cistern, there is a fun photo area where you can dress up as a sultan and his court. There tons of costumes to choose from and Trevor loved being able to hold a cool old weapon! The photo area is very well organized and within minutes they have CD’s available for purchase with the entire photo shoot for €20.00 or just a single photo for €5.00 – ether way it is quite a good deal for the fun and memories of the special day!


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