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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 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
Atlanta, GA
Top Contributor
156 reviews 156 reviews
23 attraction reviews
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

I wasn't aware of the underground chambers. From the moment I stepped into the coolness of the chambers, I felt relaxed and at peace. Our guide was able to give us the great history and gave us amble time to walk around the chambers and find the medusa. There was music lightly playing in the background, fish swimming in the... More

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Benicia, California
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
25 attraction reviews
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

We spent a good hour here, escaping the heat and humidity of the city. Not too sure what to expect, but certainly worth the 20 TL admission ($10). Tread carefully, as parts of it are quite slippery. It is amazing to see and to realize that is was built for its utility as a water source, not for beauty. The... More

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Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

Don't get put off by the long queues outside in peak season, it moves very quickly and there is lots of room inside.

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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

Amazing place to visit with the columns and water channels under the city!! Great architecture. Only problem are the large number of tourists trying to get photos, which are very difficult because of the lighting and the crowds. Try to get there when there are less people and can avoid the queues.

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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
45 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

It is heard to imagine an underground temple of water, but this is what Basilica Cistern is. Avenues of columns - different Roma Greco in styles - laid out in a way that suggest a light and mirror show in its avenues of perspective. Fish are seen swimming in these waters as you walk along the gangways to explore the... More

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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

The cistern is an interesting place considering it's history but there was a stupid gimmick where you can pay 5 euro to dress up as saltants. Like most other tourist sites in istanbul you have to pay another fee for the audio guide which I'm not inclined to do although it is only a small fee. I would have preferred... More

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Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
25 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW via mobile

I loved this place. A real surprise as to what lurks beneath the pavements of Istanbul. Very atmospheric (the piped music makes you feel like you're in a spa!) and something a bit different. It was definitely my favourite 'sight' after 3 days in Istanbul.

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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

This is a facinating place to visit. It must have come as quite a surprise when it was discovered. Must see attraction in Istanbul.

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Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
26 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

This is a must visit, we enjoyed viewing the amazing architecture and hearing the sounds underground. The columns are lit in an orange glow.... loved it.

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Turgutreis, Turkey
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2014 NEW

Go to this underground water storage you will be amazed, and if you are lucky enough to go when they have the small orchestra playing in there it's out of this world. The queue can be long but we'll worth the wait grab a coffee while you are in there and soak up the atmosphere, also watch the faces of... More

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