The Basilica (Yerebatan) Cistern, operated by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) Culture Inc., started to be renovated with restoration work started in December.
The Basilica Cistern attracts the attention of tourists because of the mysterious structure between the marble columns rising from the water. The cistern that met the water need of the people living in the region with Byzantine and Ottoman palaces for centuries was restored twice during the Ottoman Empire period.
For the cistern, which is located in front of the Hagia Sophia Mosque and which is one of the important historical buildings of Turkey, technical preliminary works, measurements and plans were made before the physical renovation works.
The Basilica Cistern Manager Celalettin Deniztoker stated that the structure is the third most visited museum for 10 years.
Noting that the number of visitors increased by 10 percent every year, Deniztoker noted that “The Basilica Cistern is a historical space of a thousand 500 years before it opened to the service of tourism in 1987 and has not seen a great restoration until that time. The restoration work is scheduled to be completed in March 2018, but it will be so good in terms of tourism as long as we can finish it earlier.”
Stating that the number of visitors is estimated to be around 2 million 100 thousand in 2014, Deniztoker said that due to the terrorist incidents there has been a decrease in the last two years and that publicity studies have been done abroad to attract foreign tourists.