I can still remember the relief walking down to Yerebatan Sarnici, the largest underground cistern in Istanbul. This photo was taken on my way to see the upside down and sideways Medusa heads located in the back of the cistern.


My friend Dilay was showing me around Istanbul, her new home base, and it was a yucky, humid, hot, I-need-ice-cream-or-a-cold-pool-right-now, kind of day. It was a treat to walk down into this subterranean cool and be taken back in time.

In a total of 12 rows there are 336 massive marble columns throughout the cistern. The whole place is very powerful, giving you a beautiful chill through your bones. The water drips melancholically through the ceiling, and the brick-domed ceiling echoes classical music. There weren’t many people there so we were able to take in all the little details in peace. The Medusa heads, which act as a base for two of the columns, are said to have been recycled from another building and used as an evil-averting device.

After taking some silly pictures on our way out in traditional Turkish outfits, we braved the heat again and walked straight to the nearest ice cream stand.