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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 642 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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North Bergen, New Jersey
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014 NEW

The Basilica Cistern is not to be missed, its one of the big three attractions in this area of Istanbul. Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are just minutes away. The Basilica originally contained gardens that faced the Hagia Sophia before being converted to a cistern. The cistern can hold about 100,000 tons of water but is virtually empty today.... More

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Ankara, Turkey
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014 NEW

Basilica Cistern is one of the most magnificent historical structure in Istanbul. I admired that amazing structure. There is the head of Medusa which is masterwork of sculpture art from Rome. The inside of the Basilica Cistern is cool. If you visit there in Summer, you will certainly become cooler. It is commendable.

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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014 NEW

I am very saddened to say that this place did not live up to my expectations. Based on all the great reviews, I expected a grand structure that inspires awe and immerses you in ancient Rome. Contrary though, it was a damp dark space crowded with tourists. I did not spot anything worth seeing- from the columns to the cealings... More

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Oakland, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014 NEW

It's a great historical site, and so vast it's hard to imagine when it was full of water. The stories of some of the pillars just add to the appeal.

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Massachusetts
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014 NEW

It is, indeed, an amazing engineering feat, and a cool respite on a hot day, but at a cost of 20TL/person we did not think it worth the cost. If it were less expensive, it would be worth a 30-minute visit.

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New York
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
7 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014 NEW

This is an amazing underground site where water was stored. It is both figuratively & literally cool. Great break on a hot day.

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Torino, Italia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014 NEW

A place where it's impossible not to remain impressed. more than 300 columns, built more than 1000 years ago and perfectly maintained and the atmosphere they recreated with lights and music is amazing... Definetely was the best I saw in Istanbul.

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Munich, Germany
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014 NEW

Liked the special atmosphere. Didn't like to wake up early in order not to stand in lines waiting for my turn to get in

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Hong Kong
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
25 attraction reviews
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

Savour this engineering wonder - the space and headroom will amaze you, while escaping from the heat above ground, and make sure that you don't miss the Medusa heads at the NW corner columns.

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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

The Basilica Cistern was a haven for exploring the engineering feats of yesteryear, and a welcome relief from the Istanbul summer sun. This vast cavern with its dim lighting, wooden walkways and copious fish provided a great place to view what must have been an impressive self-sufficiency project in its time. The medusa statues within the columns were a highlight... More

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