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Basilica Cistern

Address: Imran Oktem Cad. No:4 D:5 Sultanahmet, Fatih | Near St. Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Phone Number: +90-212 522 12 59
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Ranked #8 of 503 Attractions in Istanbul
Type: Ancient Ruins, Cultural
Fee: Yes
Owner description: The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient...
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Attraction details
Type: Ancient Ruins, Cultural
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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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Cape Town, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2014 NEW

Extremely interesting- the underground cistern is an unexpected treasure under the city and is well worth a visit.

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Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2014 NEW

Very beautiful place, under the center of old city, you can't even imagine to see reservoir full of water and fish, with special light and old columns. Amazing!

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Blainville, Canada
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2014 NEW

Worth a visit...but share the audio guide...or don't take it at all... You will learn the same thing by reading the comments during your visit... Short visit but nice pictures opportunities...

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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
24 attraction reviews
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2014 NEW

The Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici), just over the road from the Hagia Sophia, presents a really interesting contrast to the soaring spaces of the basilica. This cavernous underground chamber features 336 columns rising out of the water. Visitors thread their way through this space along sometimes damp and slippery walkways to reach the most striking sight – two Medusa heads... More 

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Karatu, Tanzania
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
19 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2014 NEW

This place was so cool and worth the 20lira admission cost but there isn't a lot of info inside (there are cheap audio guides which we didn't get....). Still really really cool!

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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
202 reviews 202 reviews
69 attraction reviews
103 helpful votes 103 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2014 NEW via mobile

It's certainly worth the 20TL to go in & check out this immense underground water cavern! It's the kind of attraction that can be done in 25-30mins, but is still fascinating. If you wander right to the end, you will see the medusa. I personally was a bit under whelmed by it, but still, check it out!

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Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2014 NEW

The queue was quite long but it was worth it. An underground world filled with water. The pillar are fantastic and the dim lighting adds to the atmosphere. Loved it.

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Alexandria, Egypt
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
17 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2014 NEW

I always wondered how did people store fresh water in the middle ages before PVC tanks were invented. I finally got the answer. It is a 45 minute visit maximum, beside the blue mosque, so if you can squeeze it into your day, I recommend you can do it. However, the audio device is over priced and I do not... More 

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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2014 NEW

The Basilica Cistern should not be missed. It doesn't take long but worth seeing. A guide is not essential but it does add to your experience.

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Anchorage, Alaska
Top Contributor
170 reviews 170 reviews
12 attraction reviews
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2014 NEW

You owe to yourself to visit the Basilica Cistern if you are in Istanbul. This is an awe inspiring testament to the creativity of mankind. There are a large number of interpretive signs that help explain the history. The cistern is kept quite clean and the walkways are clean and in good repair with good solid railings. Lighting is dim... More 

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