Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

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Credit: DR NEIL OVERY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Basilica Cistern. View of the interior of the Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey. This is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). It was built during the 6th Century during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and provided a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings in the area. It continued to provide water to the Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and into modern times.

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