Istanbul is one of the must-see European travel hot spots. There is something for everyone, and fortunately the former Constantinople is still a reasonably-priced city. Smart travelers know that being on a budget does not have to mean giving up comfort or service. The Hotel Büyük Keban, in central Istanbul, is a perfect example: a three-star hotel with four-star hospitality and services. All the marvelous attractions of Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula are within walking distance: the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, the Sultanahmet Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Gulhane Park, the Süleymaniye Mosque and the Beyazit Tower.
Still Waters Run Deep: The Basilica Cistern
While many a guidebook speaks of the iconic minarets pointing skyward and the elegant towers scratching at the sky, one remarkable highlight of Istanbul’s historical area is beneath ground: the Basilica Cistern, located just a short distance from the Hotel Büyük Keban. The Basilica Cistern – known in Turkish as the Yerebatan Sarnıcı (“sunken cistern”) or Yerebatan Sarayı (“sunken palace”) – was built nearly fifteen centuries ago by Roman Emperor Justinian to provide sufficient water to the growing urban center. Its construction ran in parallel to the city’s growing dominance in the Early Roman Age.
The Byzantine emperor originally had the structure built in the 6th century under the Stoa Basilica, which at the time stood above ground on the First Hill of Constantinople. A great Roman Catholic Basilica stood on the site during the third and fourth centuries and was a commercial, legal and artistic center before being converted into an underground cistern. The basilica, facing the Hagia Sophia complex, was surrounded by opulent gardens and a colonnade. Ancient Constantinople’s burgeoning population increasingly necessitated sufficient water sources. Justinian ordered construction of the cistern to provide a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople, as well as other buildings on the First Hill. The engineering marvel continued providing water to the Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and into modern times.
Affordable and Comfortable Hotel on Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula
The Hotel Büyük Keban recently completed a full renovation and is proud to be an affordable hotel of quality, serving travelers for over 40 years. With its ideal location within walking distance of the Basilica Cistern and all the highlights of the Historic Peninsula, it is a great place to settle in after an adventurous day and evening of exploration. Here you can treat yourself to a great night’s sleep on the wonderfully comfortable mattresses in our well-appointed rooms, enjoy our famous and copious breakfast buffet, and take advantage of our on-site spa facilities complete with traditional Turkish bath, sauna, and jacuzzi. We offer a selection of room sizes and styles to suit any guest’s tastes – from single budget rooms to family master suites and everything in between, including rooms consciously designed for our disabled guests in mind. We would love to show you our fresh face – contact us today to reserve your home away from home in Istanbul!