Binbirdirek Underground Cistern

The Binbirdirek Underground cistern is the second-largest cistern in Istanbul, with the Basilica Cistern being the largest. This underground cistern is found in the heart of the Old City of Istanbul, close to The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) and Topkapi Palace.

Binbirdirek Cistern was built around the 5th Century under a palace. The palace is often thought of as being the Palace of Antiochos. The cistern has an immense size with the capability of holding up to 40,000 cubic meters of water. The building is held up by a series of 224 columns, each measuring between 14 and meters in height, unusually the pillars are made up of two halves with a marble ring joining the two sections. In the 6th Century, the cistern was restored by Justinian I after the palace was destroyed, However, it again fell into disuse and forgotten after the Ottoman Empire conquered the city in 1453. In the 17th century, it was rediscovered during the construction of Fazil Pasha’s Palace.

The name Translates into 1001 Columns, despite the name it only has 224 that hold the cistern in place. The name is thought to come from an expression in Turkish speech which uses the term to show that it is numerous or had, so its name may be more of an expressive name than an accurate count.

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