The Serefiye Cistern was built by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II in the 5th century AD, in order to provide enough water to the residents of Constantinople during enemy raids. The fresh water was brought from the Belgrade Forest area north of the city through the Aqueduct of Valens which was built in the 4th century.
Serefiye cistern is located in Sultanahmet neighborhood in the old city, close to the Grand Bazaar. It was known as Theodosius Cistern in the past, but it is called Serefiye, meaning the "Goodwill" in Turkish, since 19th century. This cistern, like the Basilica Cistern, was connected to the Binbirdirek Cistern nearby.
The restorations started in 2010 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB), by demolishing old town hall which was built above the cistern. The works lasted for about 8 years and the Serefiye cistern was opened to public by the end of 2018. Today, the Municipality organizes art exhibitions, small classic music concerts, sound and light shows and other events inside. The admission to the cistern costs 150 TL.
The dimensions are approximately 45 meters by 25 meters, with a height of 9 meters. There are 32 marble columns inside which creates an impressive atmosphere with lighting. There is also an elevator for the accessibility.