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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 642 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
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014 NEW

Very special, marvelous what they could do so may years ago, amazing insight into an incredible civilization. And the Medusa face a must see.

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Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014 NEW

As soon as you enter the cistern there's a place to have your photos taken in traditional Turkish costumes. Quick, efficient & inexpensive service & a fun memento of your trip

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Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 NEW

The fact that this system was thought up and engineered back then is what makes this place amazing, though a quick walk through, read a few signs and there's not much else to do or see here. DO NOT get the audio guide -- they trick you by selling it right when you walk down the stairs, but all it... More

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Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
65 attraction reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 NEW

The cistern was renovated after being forgotten for a long time, it is dark wet most of the way and there was a long line to buy tickets, but when you enter the site, specially on a hot summer day it is very refreshing and a bit eerie. The medusa heads with the unknown story and origin makes it even... More

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Ontario
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
32 attraction reviews
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 NEW

This is a very cool place, a massive underground room supported by hundreds of recycled roman columns with effective lighting. Well worth the visit and a welcome releaf from the heat of Istanbul above.

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Bucharest, Romania
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
27 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 NEW

I've visited the Basilica Cistern several times because I was impressed by the beauty of this amazing place. It is trully spectacular to see this underground and beautiful place.

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Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 NEW

Mentioned in the Dan Brown "Inferno" the yerabatan Serayi or the 'sunken palace' was initially constructed as a Basilica in 3rd 4rd century and later converted into a cistern. Largest of the hundreds lying underneath Istanbul. Cistern Basilica is not to be missed, keep a quarter in your pocket for the wishing pools, and say Hi to Medusa ;-)

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Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 NEW

Like all cities, ancient Constantinople needed water. So they brought it in from afar via amazing aqueducts and then stored it in subterranean cisterns of which this is the largest and most impressive. Built during the reign of Emperor Justinian (as was the nearby Hagia Sophia Cathedral), the Basilica Cistern is astonishing because of the Roman engineering skill and ingenuity... More

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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 NEW

An absolute must see! Hagia Sophia is one of the most important and oldest places of worship in the world. During the course of it's 1,500+ years of existence it has been the epicenter of 3 major religions (Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholicism and Islam). It is a stunning piece of architecture that exhibits mosaics of Christian mythology next to Islamic... More

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Bournemouth, United Kingdom
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5 reviews 5 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 NEW via mobile

We went to Istanbul on a day trip and our friend was our guide. We mainly were looking around Sultanahmet area. When it came to visiting blue mosque the prayers started (we were there during ramadan). Therefore, we could not go inside the mosque until the prayer ended. Instead our friend took us down the Basilica Cistern which is basically... More

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