Medusa by Tom Gomez

The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı – “Sunken Palace”, or Yerebatan Sarnıcı – “Sunken Cistern”), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), Turkey. The cistern, located 500 feet (150 m) west of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

Located in the northwest corner of the cistern, the bases of two columns reuse blocks carved with the visage of Medusa. The origin of the two heads is unknown, though it is thought that the heads were brought to the cistern after being removed from a building of the late Roman period. Tradition has it that the blocks are oriented sideways and inverted (this one) in order to negate the power of the Gorgons’ gaze.

The Historic Areas of Istanbul are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Related shots can be found at Turkey or Eastern Meditteranean.

Featured in : Statues and Such : 6 Apr 10

All images shown in this redbubble portfolio are owned by the artist, Tom Gomez and are protected under UK and International copyright laws. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any part of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All rights reserved. My images are NOT part of the public domain.

View Full Profile


  • cherylc1
    cherylc1about 5 years ago

    Amazing capture!

  • Thank you so much dear Cheryl …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Catherine Hamilton-Veal  ©
    Catherine Hami...about 5 years ago

    Hi Tom this brings back memories as we have been here, we stayed in Istanbul for four days about ten years ago, and the sad thing is we have no photos, as i left our camera in a taxi first day there. Boo never mind. A great shot. x

  • What a shame, Istanbul is a fabulous place, there is so much to see and photograph …

    – Tom Gomez

  • John44
    John44about 5 years ago

    YESSSSS, I have been i there to Tom.. One can hardly see/ find it from the outside
    but we had someone in our group who know the location.. while it was so hot outside it was so cool and nice under the gound
    I made some shots to there.. have to find ’m :-)
    did you also see the white sort of carp there?
    Welldone here Tom

  • I have some shots of fish swimming about in there but I did not see any albino ones …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Barry Norton
    Barry Nortonabout 5 years ago

    Good capture Tom

  • Thank you kindly Barry …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Sean Farragher
    Sean Farragherabout 5 years ago

    great capture

  • Thank you so much Sean …

    – Tom Gomez

  • David  Parkin
    David Parkinabout 5 years ago

    This is brilliant, the image and the history.

    Thanks Tom.

  • Thank you David, glad you like it mate …

    – Tom Gomez

  • EarthGipsy
    EarthGipsyabout 5 years ago

    Incredible to think about the time and artwork that went into designing a cistern!!
    Nice image, very interesting information, Tom.

  • Thank you so much Sonia. The sistern is enormpus and was built in the 6th Centuart so it is about 1400 years old …

    – Tom Gomez

  • Shaun Whiteman
    Shaun Whitemanabout 5 years ago

    Great details Tom, what an amazing sculpture!!

  • Cheers Shaun, this is one of a pair of Medusa heads. the other one is on its side …

    – Tom Gomez

  • foppe47
    foppe47about 5 years ago


  • Thank you kindly Foppe my friend …

    – Tom Gomez

  • DonDavisUK
    DonDavisUKabout 5 years ago

    Ah ha, so that’s what happend to the Medusa, great capture Tom.

  • Cheers Don, looks like they buried her away in a dark place – hehehe

    – Tom Gomez

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.