Thursday, January 08, 2009

Of the Cistern

Both our dear Turkish friend Ayça and the ever-trusty Lonely Planet (which, by the way, now lets one download guidebooks by the chapter at quite reasonable rates) recommended that we visit the Basilica Cistern while in Istanbul. This was fantastic advice, because it was very interesting, and even more so because your faithful correspondent had essentially no idea what a cistern was. In general, of course, it's clearly some kind of water storage tank. But we had no idea what to expect, really. It turns out it's sort of a man-made cave, built in Roman times, roof held up by hundreds of columns, in which water collects for later use. Somehow, whether by intent or accident, it now has some really huge goldfish living in it. It was weird, it was unexpected, it was not like anything I had seen before: exactly the sort of thing that makes travel worthwhile.

The staff photographer managed to run out the batteries in both cameras in the battery-taxing low-light conditions trying to take a picture like the following, but, you know, better:

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