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In the middle of the historical peninsula, the Basilica Cistern, Byzantine Emperor in 542 AD Justinian (527-565) built by the Great Palace to meet water needs. Due to the grandeur of the marble columns rising out of the water by the public is also referred to as the Basilica Cistern. Foreign sources, the Basilica (Basilica), it is claimed that the name of Basilikası'ndan Ilius located near the cistern.

Basilica Cistern, a huge building covering an area of ​​9800 m2. Here are 336 columns, each 9 meters high. These columns are planted at regular intervals, constitute 12 rows to 28 units in each row. Rising in the water columns of a vast forest and as soon as the visitor affects the cistern.

Two columns in the northwest corner of the cistern under the two Medusa heads used as a base is one of the masterpieces of the art of Roman sculpture. Medusa'yla based on the many legends about the mythology makes it even more mysterious cistern. According to a myth of the underworld female monster Medusa is one of the three Gorgonadan. These three sisters and his ministers only positive yılanbaşlı Medusa has the power to turn to stone. At the time, major structures, and special places in order to protect from evil pictures and statues put into the heads of Gorgona Medusa, supposedly placed this in mind, here. According to another rumor Medusa black eyes, long hair and a girl with nice body boasted. Perseus, son of Zeus loves for a long time. In the meantime, the Athene Perseus and Medusa jealous of loving. To do this, Athene, Medusa's hair, puts a terrible form of snakes. Now you lookin 'at Medusa whom, no one looked at the stone is cut. Then Perseus forward to seeing him in this way, thinking of Medusa's head breaks the enchanted head, grabbed the win many battles enemies by turning to stone. After this vakıadan Medusa kabzalarına old Byzantine sword and said it was committed in the column bases and the side opposite.

Various repairs to the present cistern has been installed. Repair of the cistern, which was restored twice, the first period of the Ottoman Empire III. Ahmet time (1723) was built by architect Mehmet Aga in Kayseri. Sultan Mehmed II in the second repair. Abdulhamid II (1876-1909) was timely. Period of the Republic of the cistern cleaned by the Municipality of Istanbul in 1987 and opened to the public by making a trip to the platform. Again in May 1994 was a big cleaning and maintenance.

Other programs of this mysterious space which is an integral part of Istanbul, keep up to date Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini Italian former Prime Minister of Sweden, and Austria's former Prime Minister Göran Persson'a Thomas Klestil ' up to many people was a guest.

Currently, affiliates of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Culture Inc. operated by the Basilica Cistern, besides being a museum is home to many national and international events.

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