Istanbul , 2010. The location is the Basilica Cisterns, the famous Byzantine underground water reservoir, dating back to 6th century AD. The stone head in the photo, which makes the foot of one of the large marble columns, is Medusa from Greek mythology. According to a popular version of the myth, Medusa was a beautiful Gorgon maiden, who fell for Poseidon and broke her vow of celibacy, for which she was severely punished by the goddess Athena. Athena turned Medusa into an ugly monster and replaced her hair with snakes. Everybody who looked at Medusa’s face turned into stone.
What a punishment! I did stare at this beautifully carved stone for very long when I was there and I did not turn to stone. Thank god!
If you are ever in Istanbul, do visit the Basilica Cisterns (www.yerebatan.com), one of the most evocative places I have been to. And do look at the big Medusa heads which stand upside down and sideways.