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In the heart of Sultanahmet, in Istanbul, you will find a cavernous Roman cistern that predates Aya Sophia itself. This extraordinary structure, with its massive marble columns and lofty brick ceiling, stands at the head of a narrow row of houses that form "Sogukcesme Sokagi (street)", pressed between the walls of Topkapi Palace and Saint Sophia.

By cleaning out the 1600 year old Roman Cistern (which had, until recent times, fallen into use as a car repair workshop) the Turkish Touring And Automobile association managed to convert the fine old houses of Sogukcesme Street into a terrace of guesthouses and a restaurant space.

This Roman Cistern Restaurant, named simply “Sarnic” in Turkish, gives a hint of the natural air conditioning that comes with the the restaurant's structure. Even during the hottest days of summer, The Cistern Restaurant remains pleasantly cool, and in the evening the entire space fills with mysterious ambient light from flickering candles. The impressive location of Sarnic stands witness to the processes of history that have shaped this amazing city, capital of three successive empires and two-and-a-half thousand years of change.

Sarnic: Founded during The Republic, set up in a Roman structure, located in an Ottoman street.

Address: Sogukcesme Sok. 38 Sultanahmet