June 24- Anna’s Thoughts

Hello! This morning, we arrived in the beautiful city of Istanbul. I absolutely love history, so this city is fascinating to me. The majority of history information I have retained comes from my 5th-8th grade History classes (shout out to Mrs.Schmitt!).I learned about a plethora of places that I had to imagine in my head, so seeing them now is a completely different experience. It is impossible to take in the entire beauty of the Hagia Sophia’s mosaics from a virtual tour, let alone the eeriness of the Basilica Cistern. 

The Basilica Cistern is an underground storage of fresh water in the heart of Istanbul. In its time, Istanbul has been sieged countless times, so the citizens of the city needed access to a permanent supply of clean drinking water. The water came via Roman aqueducts, as the Byzantines were originally Romans. 

There are 336 columns in the cistern, most of which are in the Corinthian or Doric styles. It is believed that at the beginning of its history, the cistern could hold 100,000 tons of water. In this water live hundreds of Carp. They were everywhere. Diddy often teased me that they feed on young American girls. The floors were very slippery, as it was incredibly cool and humid inside. I almost fell several times.

Near the far edge of the cistern there were two stone Medusa heads potruding from columns. They are, however, upside down and sideways. It is believed they were placed by Chrstians who had taken the columns from pagan sites in the city. They didn’t want Medusa to be present. 

We ate lunch at a quaint little restaurant with our guide. Now we are relaxing, as we haven’t gotten much sleep in the past three days. I’m very excited for tomorrow and can’t wait to learn even more about this incredible city.