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

A very unique place to visit and week-worth the queue if there is one. Once your eye adjust to the darkness underground the views are spectacular in this very unique place. Signs say NO PHOTOS without a permit but we didn't see anybody checking or selling the permits so wished I'd taken photos like others were doing! Pathway is a... More

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Mumbai
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
5 attraction reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014 NEW via mobile

The Bascilica cisterns are the underground chambers where the water was stored. It's huge. Frankly that's about it...it's size and the concept are the only points of attraction.. The Medusa carving..Ok One can avoid this visit and just relax on the banks of the Bosphorous...it's better use of ones time

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New York City, New York
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014 NEW

What a site to behold. To think that all of that water underground supplies a host of places including seeing the fish that live in parts of it!!!

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London
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014 NEW

I had no idea about the cisterns until our tour guide took us to this one, it is such a magical place..the smell wasn't the best but it is underground water after all! try and see the medusa head swell for a bit of ancient history

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Sheffield, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
22 attraction reviews
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014 NEW

I missed this the first time I came to Istanbul due to time constraints. What a mistake! It takes your breath away that something as amazing & large as this is just lurking under the streets of Istanbul. Truly atmospheric & the history is fascinating. Don't make my mistake! Make time to see this is you're visiting the area.

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Birmingham, United Kingdom
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5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014 NEW

Great site, got the audio guide which explained everything. Especially cool were the medusa sculptures

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Manama, Bahrain
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5 reviews 5 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014 NEW

Amazingly beautiful, wonderful view, I admire the construction and integrate artwork, incredibly historic place Do not miss this place on your list when you visit Istanbul

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Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014 NEW

Amazing underground cistern built in the 6th century close to Hagia Sophia. Well worth 30 mins of your time - you will need a high ISO on you camera and/or a decent flash

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Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2014 NEW

This was my favourite place to visit in Istanbul although it only takes about 45 minutes. When you descend into the cistern it looks like a stage set as far as you can see. There are hundreds of pillars set in lines with muted lighting. The water is about 12 cms with fish swimming around. My friend and I could... More

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Terrigal, Australia
Top Contributor
110 reviews 110 reviews
26 attraction reviews
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2014 NEW

I was very impressed with this attraction, right from the first step down into the darkness you can see that it was a very important structure in Roman Times. It has been very well restored over the past years and it is so nice to see that the future generations will enjoy this amazing structure for many years to come... More

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