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Address: Imran Oktem Cad. No:4 D:5 Sultanahmet, Fatih | Near St. Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Phone Number: +90-212 522 12 59
Website
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes
Description: 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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Incredible

We went into the cistern during our visit to Istanbul and it ended up being our favorite attraction. It's absolutely breathtaking to view and imagine the work that went in to... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed April 25, 2015
Andrew N
,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Istanbul Sightseeing Pass|Includes entry to 4 iconic attractions
Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya)
Hagia Sophia Museu...
Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace
Bosphorus Strait
Bosphorus Strait
Golden Horn
Golden Horn
Sultanahmet District
Sultanahmet Distri...
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13,682 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
4 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2015 NEW

We went into the cistern during our visit to Istanbul and it ended up being our favorite attraction. It's absolutely breathtaking to view and imagine the work that went in to building it. The way the columns are lit gives a nice intimate feeling. Be sure not to miss the Medusa heads. Definitely an absolute must see!!!

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Bath, UK
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
18 attraction reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2015 NEW

Beautifully lit and given a gentle background sound-track, this fabulously engineered water storage edifice is worthy of a visit. I did feel a bit sorry for the koy carp living in shallow, dark water.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Dunblane, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
13 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2015 NEW

Although this is a marvel of ancient engineering I personally couldn't wait to get out. it is quite high so I thought my fear on enclosed spaces would be Ok, but it so dark i didn't enjoy it I'm afraid!

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Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
15 attraction reviews
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2015 NEW

Short stop in, not worth the money. Everything you see in the photos here are pretty much it for the cistern. Actually going does not add anything photos don't already show you...

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Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2015 NEW

Just across from Sultanahmet Mosque, it looks like a toilet block from ground level. But walking down the stairs reveals the most amazing columns in a massive room. A small cost for entry. I went back several times whilst living in Turkey. A must see

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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2015 NEW

I love this cistern. Very crowded at the weekends and on holidays. You'll have to wait in long queues but once you enter and observe the place, you wont want to go out especially in summer time. Thumbs up.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2015 NEW

You will have a better time visiting the Basilica Cistern if you read up a bit about it. The hundreds of marble columns are really a sight to see. Apart from the Medusa bases, take note of the unique column with the Hen's Eye and the tears. The tears were supposed to commemorate the slaves who died during the cistern's... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Buffalo NY
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
39 attraction reviews
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2015 NEW

We got in line early in the day and that was a good choice. Later in the day we passed by and the line was out of control. It moves pretty fast, and they take cash only, so make sure you have enough. While we were in line we were approached by several people trying to get us to go... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Brooklyn, New York
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2015 NEW

Amazing to think that this was built in the 6th century. Never seen anything like it anywhere else. We sat at the cafe near the exit and took it all slowly. My unexpectedly favorite attraction in my week in Istanbul.

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Brisbane, Australia
Top Contributor
190 reviews 190 reviews
83 attraction reviews
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2015 NEW

The steps were wet as was the floor so you need to step very carefully. What an amazing structure this is and the lighting really made it magical. The roofline and lines of columns (keeping the roof up) were very interesting.

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