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Basilica Cistern

Address: Imran Oktem Cad. No:4 D:5 Sultanahmet, Fatih | Near St. Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Phone Number: +90-212 522 12 59
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Ranked #8 of 504 Attractions in Istanbul
Type: Ancient Ruins, Cultural
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns beneath the city that provided a water filtration system for the buildings nearby. This underground chamber measures approximately 138 meters (453 ft) by 64.6 meters (212 ft) and is capable of holding 80,000 cubic meters (2,800,000 cu ft) of water. The ceiling is supported by 336 marble columns.
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English first
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014 NEW

What a surprise...It is so close to the main attractions around the main mosques.Recommend you go early in the morning before the main tourists.Although lunch time also seemed slow as people were out and about eating.Only a small queue in the morningFasinating history.There is a small cafe underground in the cistern for buying cold drinks.It can get quite humid.Wear sensible... More

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
8 attraction reviews
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014 NEW

Had been to Istanbul before but had somehow missed this. It was well worth the 20 Turkish lira each. It is an amazing site to go underground and see this structure that has stood for almost 1500 years. There are 336 9 metre high columns and really this is something you should not miss.

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Tehran, Iran
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014 NEW

is it a unique place for visiting. it is totally different than other places in Istanbul. is it so good for some kind of photos.

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Bakersfield, California
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014 NEW

Across the street from the Hagia Sophia, the Cistern would be easy to miss. After paying entrance fee, you descend into the massive Cistern. Amazing engineering worth price.

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Cambridge, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014 NEW

Arrived about 9:30, no queues. Immediate entry. Stairs to underground level. There is a stair lift for less mobile people. Once inside, fantastic roman columns, probably from all over the roman world. You can spend about 40 mins before you have seen everything, no pressure to leave. It is amazing to think that this still holds up the old city... More

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Bristol, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014 NEW

Amazing structure built during historic times. The columns and the whole structure is amazing and the beautiful lightings makes it more mesmerizing.. If you have a good SLR camera, you can try your photo skills here.. There is a little photo booth where you could dress like Sultan and Begam(A bit over priced though) .. But the place is good... More

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Athens, Greece
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11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2014 NEW

Very nice monument, different than others, a must see in Istanbul. Try the Sultan photos, its a lot of fun.

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London, United Kingdom
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15 reviews 15 reviews
9 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2014 NEW

Not what I was actually expecting, an amazing underground cavern, which in it's day must have been amazing but to me it was slightly too dark to really enjoy, the stand out point was the medusa heads which live the basilica has stood the test of time. A bit over priced compared to other sights but if the que is... More

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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2014 NEW

Very enchanting and beautiful. Fun little photo booth that takes your picture dressed as Ottomans relatively inexpensively. Cost us 30TL for two prints.

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Weihai, China
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
19 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2014 NEW via mobile

This strange and unconventional tourist attraction is well worth a visit. The eerie glow and constant dripping sound creates an authentic antiquated atmosphere.

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