Şerefiye Sarnıçı

Κινστέρνα Θεοδοσίου - Theodosius Cistern - Godwill Cistern - Constantinus Cistern

Useful Information

Location: Piyer Loti Street, district of Fatih, Istanbul.
(41.00725, 28.9726)
Open: All year daily 9-18.
Fee: Adults TRL 10, Foreigners TRL 20, Students TRL 5, Teachers TRL 5.
Classification: SubterraneaCistern
Light: LightLED Lighting
Dimension: L=45 m, W=25 m, H=9 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Bibliography: Philipp Forchheimer, Josef Strzygowski (1893): Die byzantinischen Wasserbehälter von Konstantinopel Byzantinische Denkmäler. Beiträge zur Geschichte der byzantinischen Baukunst und zur Topographie von Konstantinopel Band 2, Druck und Verlag der Mechitharisten-Congregation, Wien 1893, S. 61 online
Address: Şerefiye Sarnıçı, Binbirdirek Mh., Piyer Loti Cd. No: 2/1, 34122 Fatih, Tel: +90-212-568-6080, Fax: +90-212-568-6085. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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428-443 cistern constructed.
2010 beginning of restauration.
24-APR-2018 opened to the public.


Şerefiye Sarnıçı (Theodosius Cistern) was named after the Roman Emperor Theodosius II. It was built during his reign between 428 and 443. The cistern stored the water delivered by the Aqueduct of Valens. The aqueduct originally provided the water for the Nymphaeum, the Baths of Zeuxippus and the Great Palace of Constantinople. But the water was redistributed to the new Theodosius cistern and several other new cisterns. While it was built in the time of Theodsius, he was probably not involved in the construction. It was also known under the name Constantinus Cistern.

The cistern was in use for many centuries, but in the 19th century it was not used any more and almost forgotten. Around 1890 it was visited by the German Philipp Forchheimer who published a report and a floor plan. At this time the cistern was obviously still accessible, but he mentioned a modern house which was built on top of one end. In the 1910s Arif Paşa Mansion was built on top of the cistern, and the Eminönü Municipality Building was built in the 1950s. In 2010 the town hall of Eminönü was demolished by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. As a result the cistern was rediscovered, it was obviously forgotten since the 19th century. It was restored and opened to the public in 2018. Since 2019 a concert is held in the cistern every Saturday evening at 17:30.

The cistern lies southeast of the Forum of Constantine, west of the so-called Cistern of Philoxenos. It has a size of 45 m by 25 m, the ceiling is supported by 32 marble columns which are 9 m high, 4 rows of 8 columns. The walls are brick lined with hydraulic mortar, the roof consists of a series of brick vaults.