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Basilica Cistern

Imran Oktem Cad. No:4 D:5 Sultanahmet, Fatih | Near St. Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (Sirkeci)
+90-212 522 12 59
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As featured in 3 days in Istanbul and 1 other guide
Ranked #9 of 641 attractions in Istanbul
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Type: Ancient Ruins
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Traveler Description: The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı - "Sunken Palace", or Yerebatan Sarnıcı - "Sunken Cistern") is located in opposite of Sultan Ahmed... more »
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NYC
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 NEW

It sounds cheesy but the best part of this stop is the photo booth where you can dress up as a sultan. The costumes are a little sweaty and smelly but it's worth the 5 minutes of pain for the souvenir! Six-year-old had fun...but would have gotten bored had we stayed more than 30 minutes to see the Medusa head... More

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Silver Spring, Maryland
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3 reviews 3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 NEW

Very close to Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque, this cistern is well preserved and gives a good glimpse of ancient engineering. It is still working so there is water and moisture and it is lit just enough. At one end of the cistern are two ladies waiting to greet you, so don't miss it.

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2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 NEW

very interesting. was not planned but our guide offered us to go there...its just next to the Blue Mosque so we went and enjoyed it.

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Antalya, Turkey
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
18 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 NEW

Another great work of the Constantine showing his power. The Engineering and architecture of the place is still amusing these days. The beautiful water storage for the Empire lies beneath a public park around Sultanahmet district. The dark place with it's mysterious lighting and the art work on the columns, the roof and the curved statues like that of Medusa... More

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Slovakia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 NEW

The place has a very mystic and historic feeling, worth for a 10-15 min queuing. It also gives a bit of chill down in the hot summer days, the inside temperature is about 18-19 C, so it does not need any additional clothing. The architecture is breathtaking, they provide also lot of information on the exhibition banners. Our kids were... More

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Berridale, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 NEW

I loved the Basilica Cistern. I was amazed at the ingenuity of Byzantine people in solving a water issue and that it's still a useful reservoir of water today. I found it a sanctuary from the heat and madding crowd above and the size of both the basilica and the columns was stunning. Take the audio tour, if not a... More

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Gloucester
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
34 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 NEW

This was a lovely cool place to visit, get there early to beat the queues though. The columns are cleverly lit to make the most of them. The floors can get a bit slippery as water drips from the ceiling.

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Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
27 attraction reviews
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 NEW

Wonderful underground Roman era water store, eerily and cleverly lit. Make sure to see the Medusa stones at one end. Take care on damp walkways.

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New Zealand
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
15 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2014 NEW

Here you find ancient cisterns that are beneath the city southwest of the Hagia Sophia. Here you are entering an area that was build in the 3rd or 4th century. It is tastefully lit so you can see you way to walk on the walkways. These are wet so you need to be careful. Wonderful acoustics. Well worth a visit!

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Honolulu
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
38 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2014 NEW

the cistern is something i've always wanted to do...cisterns played a major role in istanbul history..despite the long lines it was very easy to get in..i liked the feeling of being part of the history...it is as good as i imagined...the walkways were not that slippery even though i do fear losing my footing.. PS stay and have a cup... More

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