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Address: Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul, Turkey
Phone Number: 0 212 512 15 70
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes

The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns...

The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns beneath the city that provided a water filtration system for the buildings nearby. This underground chamber measures approximately 138 meters (453 ft) by 64.6 meters (212 ft) and is capable of holding 80,000 cubic meters (2,800,000 cu ft) of water. The ceiling is supported by 336 marble columns.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 19,177 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 12784
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    Very good
  • 1206
  • 150
  • 48
Great spot to get relief on a hot day !

Underground cistern is intriguing in it's design and purpose, especially considering how long ago it was developed. Challenging spot for photos due to dull lighting but beautiful... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
Kingston, Canada

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English first
Kingston, Canada
Level Contributor
74 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Underground cistern is intriguing in it's design and purpose, especially considering how long ago it was developed. Challenging spot for photos due to dull lighting but beautiful in its simplicity.

1 Thank PetBev
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Seeing the Basilica Cistern was so interesting. We've never seen anything like this before, anywhere. Our guide told us that there are many of them in Istanbul that have still not been discovered!

Thank fufla
Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

The magical beauty of the cisterns is a must see while you are touring the historical district of Istsnbul. It will hit you as an unexpected enchantment after leaving the busy street above. The lighting and music add to its ambiance. Be sure to walk as far as the walkways will allow, so you wil not miss the few very... More 

Thank TaliaP2013
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
79 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

I left here thinking 'was that it?' but on the other hand, there's only so much you can make of an underground water storage facility! It's amazing that it still exists and the structure is amazing - if only the UK had Roman builders - but frankly a pillar is a pillar. There are 128 pillars or something which is... More 

Thank StraightTalker28
Level Contributor
3 reviews
1 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

there place just good for 5 minute looking and that all! don't worth waiting much in the line and paying to go inside! nothing special

Thank Rawezh K
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

I think it's a good attraction but I wouldn't say it is a must... It seem to me a little bit overpriced. I recommend it if you like roman architecture and history a lot, if not you can totally overlook this one

Thank Leonel D
Level Contributor
78 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Well this place is very close to the Blue Mosque and Ayasofya just right across the street. If you have the museum pass, this place is NOT included. So you have to buy the ticket. Well there is not much to see but it is a 'must see' place. So you just have a look.

Thank Nalinee N
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
17 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

It is the Most amazing Part of Architecture when we see the amazing beauty , also it has a lot of fishes and a medusa head

Thank rabisaha
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Close to other main attractions, this will give you a glimpse of the engineering in those days. Very interesting architectural and historic place.

Thank janesanjose
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

This place was ancient history when the Ottomans arrived in the 1400s! The underground space has a roof supported by mismatched Byzantine columns, basically whatever was lying around. Used almost 2000 years ago to store water. You will walk around on wooden bridges between the columns. The space is very big, cool, and dimly lit. It was a great respite... More 

Thank David W

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With so many unmissable attractions within a mere stroll of each other – and all set around the site of an ancient Byzantine hippodrome – Sultanahmet is an overwhelmingly popular tourist destination, and a prime location for visitors to be wowed on a truly epic scale. Beyond the wonders of the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and more, this relatively small area of Istanbul somehow manages to retain an air of peace and calm. It offers visitors a significantly less celebrated but nonetheless pleasant network of quaint lanes and side streets, majestic panoramas of the Bosphorus, and an impressive assortment of accommodation options for all budgets and tastes.
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