Basilica Cistern, Istanbul by Josh Wentz

Photographic Prints

Available to buy on…

Hidden for years under the streets of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district, the waters of the Basilica Cistern lapped undisturbed against the base of Corinthian marble columns. This Roman-era engineering feat was lost to public knowledge when the city was taken over by the Ottoman Turks, and remained unknown until citizens of the modern Turkish republic reported catching fish through holes in their basements. That was just a few decades ago; today carp still swim through the water at the base of the pillars.


alone, ancient, arch, artistic, basilica, byzantine, cistern, columns, contrast, dark, deserted, fine, framed, hidden, hiding, historic, historical, interesting, intriguing, istanbul, josh, joshua, light, mysterious, mystery, orange, ottoman, perspective, pillar, pillars, red, reflection, roman, ruins, secret, secretive, shadow, shadowy, spooky, structure, tunnel, turkey, turkish, underground, water, wentz, yellow


  • rochelle
    rochelleover 6 years ago

    amazing photo and story. the more i travel, see things and try to understand the more i am ‘gobsmacked’ by the capacity and endeavours of people centuries ago.

  • Maxhamish
    Maxhamishover 6 years ago

    Amazing image you have shown here, very impressive…………..cheers

  • Carmel Harty
    Carmel Hartyover 6 years ago

    Wow….looks amazing!!!

  • Eyal Nahmias
    Eyal Nahmiasover 6 years ago

    Lovely comp and perspective. The symmetry and reflection gives this image drama and interest. Thanks for sharing with the Art of the Middle East group.

  • Kimberley  x ♥ Davitt
    Kimberley x ♥...over 6 years ago

    what a stunning shot, and informative also. love the colours

    I have had to save this to faves it gorgeous

  • Marguerite Foxon
    Marguerite Foxonabout 6 years ago

    Great photo – Ive tried shooting this same scene and couldnt get the light right at all. Youve done a super job.

  • Denzil
    Denzilalmost 6 years ago

    I have some lovely murky (meaningless) shots from inside the basilica, but I’m so thrilled to have been there, and to have seen this modern rediscovery of an ancient marvel – a truly wonderful place! And a perfect representation of its atmosphere and its splendour. :)

  • Maria  Moro
    Maria Moroabout 5 years ago
  • Scott  d'Almeida
    Scott d'Almeidaalmost 5 years ago


  • Maria  Moro
    Maria Moroalmost 5 years ago

    Please consider our Shapes in Columns & Pillars Challenge

    • 6 days left to submit ~ please join us
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait