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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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English first
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014 NEW

This place is an excavated, ancient water reservoir - now with massive Koi carp swimming around under your feet, and upturned carved marble medusa heads forming the footings of the columns. Stunning.

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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014 NEW

Imagine a modern water storage system to be build with grace and ingenuity that should last for the next 1500 years - impossible for us but the Romans did it. A must see when you are in Istanbul.

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London
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014 NEW

If you have read Inferno by Dan Brown then this place will be of interest to you, which is the main reason why I wanted to visit. Otherwise, not an awful lot to see for £6.

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New York City
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 NEW

Well worth the visit and a nice underground sanctuary from busy streets above. For James Bond fans, also a film site for From Russia with Love.

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Plymouth, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 NEW

this is one sightseeing tour where you did not have to queue for long to visit. Here it is lovely and cool, very dark but again if you are interested in Roman structures you will be amazed by the underground cistern. large fish can be seen in the water and music is played in the backround. be careful underfoot can... More

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Bethel, Connecticut
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3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 NEW

Exotic doesn't get better than the Cistern; possibly the top visit in Istanbul. And, less crowded than most.

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Johannesburg, South Africa
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 NEW

A well-spent half-hour. Do not bother with the audio guide, but collect the little brochure at the entrance. Look carefully at the carvings - very interesting.

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Mumbai (Bombay), India
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
29 attraction reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2014 NEW

After reading Dan Brown's Inferno, I was feeling like the protagonist walking along the wooden platforms. The perfect symmetry in placement of the 336 marble columns gives the Cistern a mystical feel. The reflections of the columns in the water is just beautiful. Don't miss the Medusa head carvings supporting 2 columns at the end of the structure. The visit... More

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Abu Dhabi
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014 NEW

I have wanted to see the Cistern since reading the novels of Jon Courtney Grimwood which are partly set here. The atmosphere of the columns rising up from the water with gentle reflections everywhere is almost magical. One work of caution - arrive early before long lines start to form, especially if it is hot outside!

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Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
6 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014 NEW

This is one of the must sees in Istanbul. A place of wonder in modern times. If in Istanbul it must be part of your planning.

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