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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 #8 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
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2014 NEW

It's right across the street from Ayasofya and the line to get in moves quickly. Take a camera with a flash. Allow 30 min. max. While there keep in mind that this was water storage, a very unique, and artistic place to store their water.

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Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2014 NEW

Amazing, one of my holiday highlights, it is definitely a must see in Istanbul, especially the sultan and sultana dress up in the corner!

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Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

This was one of the main reasons I wanted to come to Istanbul, but I was kind of dissapointed. The lines were way to long and it felt like you were on a conveyor belt once you got inside, being pushed towards the exit.

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England
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

Despite it being 9am there was plenty of visitors, but once down inside the basilica they disappeared as you wander though the pathways through Thai subterranean world, a little wet under foot from waste dripping through, so bear that in mind with footwear, the lights on the columns give it a surreal and very atmospheric effect, fish swim in the... More

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Lansing Michigan
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
35 attraction reviews
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

Underground Cistern which was beautiful and interesting. In the old downtown area of Istanbul. Might need to have a map or ask someone to find it since there are not that many signs but very close to Hagia Sophia

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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
13 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

Sure you have to see the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia too. But this is so different. Underground with reused Roman columns. It's wet so having a light jacket handy regardless of the weather is good to have.

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Beijing, China
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
20 attraction reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

We went to the Cistern on the same day we saw the Hagia Sofia, The Mosaic Museum and The Blue Mosque. It did not disappoint. This is the second time I've gone, the last time being in 2003, and they ahve done a magnificent job making it more visitor friendly. Make sure to take your time and check out the... More

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Weston, Florida, United States
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
7 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

This is an incredible experience. And, because is under level, you don't see anything from outside. There is a tiny door and you need to buy tickets to get inside. Buy them! It's a different experience.

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australia
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
27 attraction reviews
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2014 NEW

The bit of a wait in a queue to enter and paying the entry fee of 20 Turkish Lira is very worthwhile. You go down a fair few stairs and will be amazed at the size and beauty of the Marble Columns, arches and ceilings all in fabulous original condition. Its a bit dark and damp with what seems like... More

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Worcester UK
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
27 attraction reviews
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2014 NEW

The Cisterns should be on a must-see visiting list. The presentation with subdued lighting gives them a sense of mystery whilst still giving the visitor safe access along the extensive walkways. be aware there may be surface water along the walkways. Spend some time looking at the way different columns were reused centuries ago. Spend time seeing the slow almost... More

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