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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
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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 20,342 reviews
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Interesting and mysterious

It's a very interesting to see all of the columns in the cistern, the place has an air of mystery which makes it a very special experience. It's the perfect place to take kids... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
Paula B
,
Cape Coral, Florida

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20,342 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Cape Coral, Florida
Level Contributor
149 reviews
65 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

It's a very interesting to see all of the columns in the cistern, the place has an air of mystery which makes it a very special experience. It's the perfect place to take kids, they will love it! The medusa heads where quite intriguing. It's definitely a must see if you are visiting Istanbul.

Helpful?
Thank Paula B
Montreal
Level Contributor
58 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This is such a surprising place! It's right under the oldest part of Istanbul (and the most touristic part). To think that this treasure has been hiding under our feet... a must see.

Helpful?
Thank Maika-Laura
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Although this museum is quite small and the entrance fee is 20 TL (cannot use museum card) but really nice experience and one of the place must visit when visiting istanbul

Helpful?
Thank Ali A
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Basilica Cistern is a place you must see if you are visiting Sultanahmed neighbourhood. It is an unforgetable experience. It is also one of the best indoor locations to take pictures in Istanbul

Helpful?
Thank Burak_16
Brit in Gulf
Level Contributor
94 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I spent 4 days in Istanbul in the New Year when the weather was icy and very few tourists, partly due also to the sanctions imposed on Turkey by a rather larger Country. All the big attractions were empty and we were able to see everything in great detail without the hustle of guides and hoards of tourists. Having said... More 

Helpful?
Thank Richie-In-Oxon
Hobart, Australia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Right in the middle of Sultanahmet, this underground experience is worth a visit. You could take it in quickly or linger longer, dependent on your interest in history. The Romans were great recyclers and brought huge columns from around their domain, to create this water storage (cistern). It is impressive in size and how it remained hidden for so long.... More 

Helpful?
Thank TasStark
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Would recommend this for travellers looking for something new. You can feel the art of building of our ancestors.

Helpful?
Thank khalil J
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This is a most unusual experience. Just remarkable to think that this huge underground water tank existed so long ago.

Helpful?
Thank edinburghgolfer2015
Level Contributor
30 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Nice eerie feeling.....getting to be underground beneath the hussling and bussling roads is quite amazing...had a smell to it....columns wer big and the mood was eerie due to lack of light....plus seeing the medusas head was lol...

Helpful?
Thank Abdul A
paris
Level Contributor
225 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 608 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

The Cistern is a very impressive place to visit and offers opportunities for some great pictures if you're a keen photographer! The sheer size of the cavern, the way it's beautifully lit, the Koi carp in the water and the carving on some of the stonework is all outstanding. The only thing to beware of are the signs warning you...

Helpful?
Thank dtshura

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Staying in Sultanahmet

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Sultanahmet
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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