Istanbul's Old City Pt III: Yerebatan Cistern and Divan Yolu
We descended below ground into the Yerebatan Cistern, or otherwise known as the Basilica Cistern, and was greeted by a space devoid of sunlight except for the dim lights shining upon the marble pillars. Built during the Byzantine Empire, the cistern functioned as a water storage and supply to the palace and nearby government buildings. Today the structure of the cistern remains as it is, though its function now is merely to provide us with a glimpse of the water system in the distant past. The 300+ marble pillars with dim lights shining on them from below complement the stillness of the place.
In Istanbul, one can literally walk on history. That is when you walk on Divan Yolu Caddesi, once an imperial road from Constantinople to Rome. Restaurants and cafes are plenty here so that makes great eye candy but this street is also where you will find smaller mosques and tombs of Sultans from the Ottoman Empire including Sultan Mahmud II. It was prayer time during our stroll along Divan Yolu Caddesi and the ezan blared from nearby mosques. Male worshippers who did not make it inside the mosque laid their prayer rugs right outside the mosque, knelt, and bowed their heads in prayer. Welcome to beautiful Istanbul.
Every first timer in Istanbul visits the Sultanahmet area and the Grand Bazaar and there you go, convenience is laid out perfectly here: Divan Yolu Caddesi begins from the Sultanahmet area and leading to the Grand Bazaar. A pleasant 10-15 minutes walk along Divan Yolu Caddesi gets you to the bazaar. Otherwise, catch the tram from the Sultanahmet station and get off at the next stop, Beyazit to get to the bazaar. The tram travels on Divan Yolu Caddesi as well.
Istanbul's Old City Pt 1: Hagia Sophia
Istanbul's Old City Pt II: Sultanahmet Mosque