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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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Ranked #9 of 646 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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English first
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
27 attraction reviews
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

This is not far from the Agia Sofia and is well sign posted. You can't use your museum card to visit this but the entry fee is reasonable. The stairs leading down to the cistern can be quite wet and slippery. Its an amazing place, and is very atmospheric. It still has water in it and there are quite a... More

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United States
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
20 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

After reading Dan Brown describe this place, it became a must-see during our trip to Istanbul. While the area open for public viewing is not that large, it is quite a sight. The structure is dimly lit giving it both an eerie as well as a mysterious feel to it. The ingenuity that went behind its creation is worth admiring.... More

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3 reviews 3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

It was a beautiful and different attraction. Amazing to think it was build so many years ago. It is a quick tour, but I would say the money is well spend. It only gets four stars because I wasn't able to spend a long time there and the trip is not very informative. You will have to read a bit... More

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Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

Who would have thought such a space existed. Dark, cool and evocative. The headset guided tour is worthwhile. Before you leave sit and have a hot chocolate to recharge to soak up the atmosphere.

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Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
27 attraction reviews
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

It is quite unbelievable how small the entry point is to this building before descending down the stairs to the Cistern. Before being converted to a cistern, a great Basilica stood in its place, built between the 3rd and 4th centuries during the Early Roman Age as a commercial, legal and artistic centre. This cathedral-size cistern is an underground chamber... More

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johannesburg,south africa
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
22 attraction reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

cool and beautiful landmark which is unmissable, though not as quiet and peaceful as described. I think it has become a major tourist attraction, so it is very busy. friends visited later in the day and said it was quieter and less crowded then, compared to midday when we visited

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Durban, South Africa
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
30 attraction reviews
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

The cistern was fantastic to see and you have to go there to appreciate the sheer size of the cistern. We got there early to avoid the long queues but it was annoying to have the guided tours jump the queue and get in before us. Our only disappointment was that there was that it is all over quite quickly,... More

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14 reviews 14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

A must visit...This unusual place is hidden underneath the streets of Istanbul. Take a stroll along hundreds of marble columns and and enjoy the sight.

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Montreal, Canada
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 NEW

Amazingly, this colonnade has been submerged for centuries thus has been preserved from aging. Now almost dried up, a wooden foot bridge takes you through the series of parallel columns that defied the stand of time. Superb photo opportunity, try to avoid the tour groups/cruise ship crowd as are brutal in confined space down there and will not yield you... More

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Austin, Texas, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2014 NEW

"Interesting" is the best word to describe this place. I was interested, not entirely bored, more because of the ancient history and story behind it. It was a 'filler' destination in between eating and going shopping and it was definitely a nice break from the crowds.

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