Ayasuluk Basilica Cistern

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The Ayasuluk Basilica Cistern was a small water-reservoir, originally constructed as a basilica in the fifth or sixth century CE and converted in to a cistern during the Ottoman period. Constructed at the highest point inside Ayasuluk Fortress, it was once the apse of a Byzantine basilica-church.


When excavated it was considered as a cistern, but later on further study revealed that is a church with a free cross plan, and it is thought that the Gospel of John, one of the four Gospels accepted as the holy book by Christians, was written here.

The cistern was supplied with rain water and it provided water for castle baths and the adjacent fountain.



The brick-beamed stone wall of the apsis has a thicknessof 1.10 meter, and an addition wall was added to support this older construction and covered with red plaster.


The basilica, covered with a wooden or vaulted roof, had a single nave. It had a narthex. When the church-basilica was turned in to the water-cistern, the nave section, narthex and other rooms located on the sides of apsis were removed and upper section was covered with a vault. The middle section was supported with two columns.

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