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Roman Cisterns in Istanbul

Istanbul is a city blessed with incredible tourist attractions. Having been the capital of the Eastern Roman and Ottoman empire, this city posseses immense culture and historical artifacts which continues to draw the heart of tourists and art enthusiasts, and if you are one of such, then there is something grand to bless your eyes and memory with when you take our free walking tour Istanbul: The roman cisterns of Istanbul!

During the reign of the Roman empire, a lot of cisterns were built underground in Istanbul to cater for the water needs of the people during those times. In more recent times, these cisterns have become more of Istanbul’s cultural heritage or treasures, and have done outstandingly well in attracting tourists from all over the world. .

The hundreds of underground cisterns built during those ancient times were specifically for holding water as a form of storage to prevent water scarcity during summer, as water resources were insufficient. Over the years, most of these cisterns dried up and became less and less attractive, but of all these, the Basilica Cistern has stood the test of time and remains one of the grandest tourists attraction in Turkey up till this day.

Take a Trip to the Historical Roman Cisterns on Istanbul Tours

Are you a lover of ancient historical monuments? Stuck with a delayed flight and In need of an Istanbul private tour guide for a quick Istanbul layover tour? Then worry no more. We offer the best Istanbul layover tours with the best tour guide in Istanbul. We give you the best rates for a marvelous and memorable trip to any of the following ancient Roman cisterns in Istanbul.

  1. Basilica Cistern

Take a free walking tour Istanbul through the midst of ancient giant columns in the largest and most glamorous Roman cistern in Istanbul. Commonly referred to as the Yerebatan cistern and stretching over 143×65 square metres in area, the Basilica cistern stands as the largest cistern in all of Istanbul, and attracts the largest number of tourists per year. In 2017, there was over a million tourist visitation at the Basilica Cistern.

This gigantic subterranean structure is said to have been built by Emperor Justinian I during his reign for the purpose of supplying water to the people during the summer days. There are 336 marble columns holding the roof, each 9-metre tall. Surprisingly, this historical wonder was forgotten for years until 1545 when a French researcher, Petrus Gyllius, noticed that the locals were getting water and even catching fish in their basements.

The Basilica cistern is open to the public, and you can walk into the space through a flight of stairs. The subdued lightings and ambient temperature immediately welcomes you to this amazing cistern, and make sure you walk to the far left-hand corner to get a good view of the two gigantic Medusa heads: one lying sideways, the other upside down, and both used as column bases. But no, calm your nerves, you are not going to turn into stone when you stare at the Medusa heads.

The rectangular concept, symmetry and sheer grandeur of the Basilica cistern are quite breathtaking, and the cool ambient temperature make for a great Istanbul tour on hot summer days.

  1. Binbirdirek Cistern

Known as the second largest Roman cistern in Istanbul, the Binbirdirek Cistern located to the west of the Hippodrome, is naturally impressive as a tourist attraction. It has a land area of 3610 square metres with 212 columns. Originally, this alluring and gigantic piece of artwork was built in the 4th century and stood on 224 marble-stone columns until it got destroyed by a fire in 475 A.D. It was later renovated by Justinian I in the 6th century but got abandoned as a result of the Ottoman conquest in 1453. During this time, the Binbirdirek cistern completely dried up and went out of memory until the 1600s, when a palace construction project began upon the same site above where the cistern was lying dormant. Percieved as a true historical monument and cultural heritage of the Turks, the Binbirdirek Cistern has been restored once again and is now open to tourists and Turks alike. So whether you’re Turkish or a foreign visitor on a business or pleasure trip, why not make out time so see this important and amazing part of Turkish history?

There are two entrances to the Binbirdirek Cistern: either through the new building in the little park above the cistern or through the grand doorway on Imran Öktem Caddesi close to the Adliye Sarayı. Although there is an entrance fee, rest assured your interest will be protected when you go with the best tour guide in Istanbul.

  1. Nuruosmaniye Cellar

The presence of this historical Roman structure was only just discovered in 2013, when the Nuruosmaniye Mosque underwent reconstruction. Although it was percieved that a field laid deep beneath the foundation of the ancient mosque, it was left undisturbed as it was covered with nothing but waste material. So, during the reconstruction of the mosque, the ground was dug up to 8.5 metres deep and the cistern which looked just like an open field was discovered, comprising of over thirty different compartments.

This exotic structure cannot be left unused, and has already been redesigned and used as a crucial spot for social events. In the following years to come, the Nuruosmaniye Cellar promises to become a renowed center for tourism in Istanbul.

  1. Fildami Cistern

The most notable open-space cistern is the Fildami Cistern in Bakirköy. Although this ancient structure doesn’t hold much as it may have had in its earlier days, it is still a wonderful ancient Istanbul sight to see and is often used as a special event centre.

  1. Aspar Cistern

This cistern can be seen at Çukurbostan, and is now used as a great spot for Istanbul sporting activities.

  1. Sultan Cistern

This is one of the largest closed-space cisterns in Istanbul. Although the original construction time of this cistern is not exactly known, it appears to date between 500 and 600 A.D. This cistern has recently been convered to the Sultan Sarnıç, a privately owned restaurant, so expect to have some nice lunch at this cistern while savoring the view of its 2.8 m thick marble walls lined with hydraulic plaster.

Other Roman cisterns which an Istanbul private tour guide can take you to are the Unkapanı Cistern underneath the Zeyrek Mosque, Şerefiye Cistern which is now a huge oart of Istanbul cultural heritage, the Eşrefiye Street Cistern, the Sphendon Cistern amongst others.

Get the Best Tour Guide in Istanbul

So are you looking for an Istanbul private tour guide to take you through the streets and undergrounds of this historical city? Your best tour guide Istanbul is just a click away! Make a booking today and get ready for an adventurous trip to the Roman cisterns of Istanbul.

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What is the best food to eat in Istanbul

Istanbul is famous as a central point of tourist attraction and this goes without saying. With the beautiful views and amazing cultural history, there is so much fun in having an Istanbul tour, and this is even more buttressed by the fact Istanbul is home to some of the most sumptuous traditional delicacies on the planet.

Istanbul has long been a core aspect of the global food and spice marketing, and you wouldn’t fail to notice this when you step into a restaurant or food vendor in Istanbul. Highly varied and with so much history, Turkish foods promise to honor your taste buds with an experience that is purely unique, addictive and memorable. Istanbul foods are really nice and knowing the best out of the lot depends on your own personal taste. You really do have to taste them yourself. So if you are planning to have an Istanbul food tour or a free walking tour, be our guest. But remember you’ll have hundreds of foods to pick from and you don’t want your stomach getting full before having a taste of the best, so grab a seat as we take you through the best foods to eat in Istanbul.

10 Best Foods to Eat in Istanbul

1. Turkish breakfast

The best way to start your day in Istanbul is with Turkish breakfast. This breakfast dish, although a bit similar to what you might be used to, is quite unique in its own way. Turkish breakfast usually consists of white bread, a variety of cheese, butter, thick cream, boiled eggs, olives (black, green or both). For an out-of-this-world experience, sucuklu yumurta and börek are added, and these two magical dishes are what makes Turkish breakfast highly distinguished. Ensure you flush down this delicacy with a cup of strong, Turkish coffee. The experience is extremely dazzling.

2. Menemen

This Turkish omelet may also be used to kick-start your day. It normally comprises of eggs, tomatoes, green bell peppers, and olive oil, then garnished with ground black pepper and beautifully shaped onion slices. Absolutely yummy! You could also order for fried meat to be incorporated into this dish for a more hearty breakfast. Oh, you do not want to visit Istanbul without a taste or this excellent traditional Turkish cuisine. Some of the best restaurants to get the best Menemen are Lades Muhallebi, Mehtap Cafe, Sütiş, amongst others. Come hop on our Istanbul culinary tour and have a wonderful culinary experience in any of these restaurants.

3. Simit

This is your typical Turkish bagel. Baked in the shape of a circle, Simit is a kind of Turkish bread that is often garnished with sesame seeds, sunflower or sappy seeds. This is one of the most popular street snack you can get in Istanbul, so you can always make a pit stop to grab a bite while on our free walking tour Istanbul.

4. Meze

Your Istanbul food tour would be incomplete without having a taste of this traditional Turkish food. Meze comes in a whole lot of variety which can be eaten alongside a main meal or served with bread as an appetizer. Some varieties come with tomato and pepper, some with eggplant. Regardless of what variety you’re having, meze is quite cheap and absolutely tasty, and you don’t want to leave Istanbul without having a taste of this typical Turkish cuisine.

5. Lahmacun

Lahmacun, which is often described as Turkish pizza, is a kind of flatbread topped with finely chopped beef, vegetables as well as herbs. It is most often eaten as a snack rather than a full meal, and is absolutely tasty and quite cheap for its worth.

6. Pide

Love pizza? Well, who doesn’t? Then why not taste pizza on a whole new level? Pide is your typical pizza, even more so than Lahmacun is. It is also flatbread which is folded over at the edges. Typically, pide comprises of a special Turkish cheese known as peynir cheese. The way this Turkish food melts in your mouth is breathtaking. The experience is truly divine! Besides cheese, pide can also come with vegan options like cheese spinach-filling, or spiced lamb if you’re a meat lover. When you take an Istanbul free walking tour with us, we can take you to the Hoca Pasa where you can have the best taste of Pide.

7. Köfte

Quite very popular in Turkey, you are likely to find meatballs on almost every menu in Istanbul restaurants. This Turkish meatball is usually made from beef or lamb or both, and is usually served with rice, spicy sauce and grilled peppers spicy. So perfectly yummy is this Turkish food.

8. Kumpir

Get ready to get addicted. Almost everyone loves baked potato and when baked tomato is prepared to the extreme, what you have is Kumpir. Kumpir is prepared by mixing baked potato — which has been sliced in half — with a rich supply of butter and cheese. A wide variety of toppings — such as cheese, pickles and corn — can now be used to adorn the mixture. After tasting this incredible delicacy, trust me, you would never want to taste anything else.

9. Balık Ekmek

Balık Ekmek is typically a grilled-fish sandwich stuffed in a nutritious and tasty piece of bread. As delicious as it is, this is one of the most popular Istanbul foods you can easily get on the streets, so why not grab a hearty Balık Ekmek sandwich on your free walking tour Istanbul to have one of the best touring experience?

10. Kuru Fasulye

White beans can be very delicious but when served in Kuru Fasulye, the taste is on a whole new level! This Turkish delicacy is stew prepared by spicing white beans with surplus tomato sauce, oil, onions, chilli, and other extremely tasty spices.

Contact us for an Istanbul Culinary tour

Visiting Istanbul for the first time is most definitely going to be a grand experience, one which you’ll look forward to doing soon again when you contact us for your Istanbul tours. Providing esteemed services in Istanbul tours, we shall take you to the best restaurants and bars that offer the best foods in Istanbul.

Eat good to feel good. Contact us for an Istanbul Culinary tour today.

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Gay Life in Istanbul

Life in Istanbul is one with an elaborate expression of fun and exuberance, one that attracts people of several calibres. With its rich cultural history, amazing food and tourist attractions, Istanbul is also notable for its remarkable gay life.

It is likely you are concerned with gay life in Istanbul simply because you want to take a pleasure trip there or go on an Istanbul gay tour. Well, why not, our gay tour-guide Istanbul shall welcome you with open arms because you’re about to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, there are a few important things you need to know about Istanbul gay life before going on any Istanbul gay tours.

Important Things to Know About Gay Life in istanbul


You probably are thinking that Turkey being an Islamic country, the people of Istanbul would be very conservative and would frown greatly at gay and LGBT. Well, not exactly so. In fact, Turkey is making its way gradually into Western culture (after all Istanbul straddles Europe and Asia). Sexual activity between gays and lesbian was legalized in 1858 during the Ottoman empire and ever since the country took the name “Turkey” in 1923, gay life amongst adults has always been legal in the country.

Nevertheless, it is worthy of note that the incumbent president, President Erdogan who is a rather conservative religious president, has driven gay life in Turkey to the backstage, making gays and LGBT persons feel less inclined to show themselves out in public. Despite homosexuality still being legal throughout Turkey, being very open about it can be quite challenging these days due to the religious and political influence in the Turkish society. And take it under advisement never to walk lavishing public displays of affection to your gay partner during the day because these things can be unfamiliar to a significant number of the people here. Gay and lesbianism is not illegal in Turkey but you just have to be discrete about it anyway. But worry not, that is why our Istanbul gay friendly tours are here. Our Istanbul gay tours are done discretely to ensure you are taken to the most gay-friendly spots for you to have the best of gay life in cosmopolitan Istanbul. Spots where you’ll meet those who are just like you, have a chance to do the things you enjoy doing without limitations or conservation; a home away from home.