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Basilica Cistern

Imran Oktem Cad. No:4 D:5 Sultanahmet, Fatih | Near St. Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
+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
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2014 NEW

We pretty much stumbled on this by accident and later noticed it in the guide book. Its interesting from an architectural and engineering perspective and definitely worth a look.

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new zealand
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2014 NEW

the whole concept is incredible and more so to think it was created in 542 AD. Definitely worth the wait in line but don't forget to look for the two heads of Medusa!

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Denver, Colorado
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014 NEW

Going down into the cistern, My girlfriend and I did not really know what to expect since we only read a little about this place and had yet to see any pictures. We were both blown away by how cool this is, and I highly recommend it. A thorough stroll through takes about an hour. The atmosphere and lighting make... More

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La Canada Flintridge, California
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014 NEW

I was taken on a tour of the cistern, but had no idea what to expect. The lighting is stunning, and the columns so regal--I've never seen a water storage place that was as stunning!

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Melton Mowbray, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
14 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014 NEW

The age of this blew me away and the fact that it was only rediscovered in the 1980's. Go early or late to avoid those pesky tours and the long queue. Not part of the Museum Kart so you pay separately. Steep and uneven stairs in and out so not suitable for disabled visitors. Good even walking platform all the... More

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São Paulo
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
27 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014 NEW

I though to expensive, but is very nice and interesting. Its almost in front of Hagia Sophia. If you dont have much time, skip this.

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San Francisco, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014 NEW

The cistern is where they used to hold water for the city. It's now been turned into a really lovely museum, romantically lit, with a low-rise cement walkway all around and through it. Check out the beautiful statuary, ancient pillars, and the sweet fish throughout this place. Probably shouldn't drink the water anymore ;)

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Jacksonville, Florida
Top Contributor
99 reviews 99 reviews
80 attraction reviews
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014 NEW

This exhibit is well taken care and the visit is worthwhile. Gives you an idea of how life was hundreds of years ago.

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Mumbai (Bombay), India
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
22 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2014 NEW

This is not a must see but worth visiting if you have the time and say are visiting istanbul for 3 or more days. The pillars though lighted , the carvings cannot be seen too well. It does get monotonous after a while.

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Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
9 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2014 NEW

I can't imagine today how much engineering, capital and labour would be needed to create these amazing water storage and distribution system. Well worth a visit.

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