Basilica Cistern


It was mid-January.  Istanbul was hot and humid during the day.  Well, relatively speaking.  He’d spent his last 7 days in Delhi and Boston.  Both of which were exceedingly cold.  He had come to Istanbul with his MBA class and it was their ‘cultural exploration’ day.  It is a fancy way of saying that they were paid vacationists in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  They visited many a beautiful sites, but one that caught his attention the most was the eerie and mystical Basilica Cistern.

Basilica Cistern, rightly called ‘The Sunken Palace,’ is a marvel.  He was amazed at how well preserved it was despite centuries of conflict and siege.  He relished the elegant spotlighting that made water shimmer and the classical background music with a child-like fascination.  He was most intrigued by the two giant Medusa head pillar bases at the far end of the cistern – one face placed upside down and other sideways – to ward off evil spirits.  ‘Mythology tends to have the similar ethos everywhere.  They add an enigma to historical events and touch as at a deep philosophical level.’


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