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Basilica Cistern

Travelers' Choice award winner
Neighborhood:
Sultanahmet
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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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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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An ancient masterpiece

this is a must you have to see to believe. However the queues are horrendous. It opens at 9am we got there at 830am and were 6th in line. By 9am it was down the street and... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed July 31, 2015
rbacter3
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English first
Level Contributor
25 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2015 NEW

this is a must you have to see to believe. However the queues are horrendous. It opens at 9am we got there at 830am and were 6th in line. By 9am it was down the street and round the corner. Make it stop number 1 and be their early it is well worth the wait.

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Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

Incredible place, it definitely made my day. I entered without knowing very well and it was just amazing. The magnitud and engineering were out of this world. A very nice surprise of my 4 days in the city. Great for children and families.

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Weymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
81 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

Quite an amazing place. It was the water supply for the Palace and water brought down by the aqueduct. The place is teaming with very large fish surprisingly. It was lovely and cool too..respite from the temps outside. Costs 20 lira each. There is a cafe on site and shop.,well worth a visit and U.S. Situated a short walk from... More 

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Penang Island, Malaysia
Level Contributor
49 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

I have visited the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya definitely and Basilica Cistern in my first day in Istanbul. Both Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya are worth doing, you could probably skip Basilica Cistern as it is not all that impressive after you have been there a couple of minutes, but it is a nice escape from the heat.

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Beringen, Belgium
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

It is nice to see but we thought the ticket was to expensive. Not worth the money for us anyway. A good shelter on the hottest time of the day

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San Antonio, TX
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

If you've read Dan Brown's Inferno, you will want to see the Basilica Cistern. Atmospheric and echoing, this is an amazing engineering feat. Don't miss the columns with the Medusa heads.

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Switzerland
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4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

One of the places I always like to go back to. There is just something really special about this big old underground structure. If it's very hot outside, this is a place to cool down (bring a light jacket).

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Miami Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
229 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

this beautiful, cistern that is below the city sun, seems like a secret passage to the past, with low lights it is pergect for pictures of reflections, arches and colums. the big stoned carved Medusas are beautiful, green and a great underground surprise, the fish swimming in the premise are also interesting, this is a very special place indeed that... More 

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Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
35 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

Interesting place to visit. Just how the whole thing works is interesting. Plenty of water about! Medusa and the superstition point were busy. You need to use the flash on your camera.

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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23 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

The place isnt big but it is amazing and very picturesque. Just heading below the surface of any place is interesting and with its columns and dim lights this is one place not to miss. If you can, take a tripod otherwise steady your camera against the handrails. This is a low light place and your going to need at... More 

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Additional Information about Basilica Cistern

Address: Imran Oktem Cad. No:4 D:5 Sultanahmet, Fatih | Near St. Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Phone Number: +90-212 522 12 59
Location: Europe  >  Turkey  >  Istanbul>  > Sultanahmet

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Staying in Sultanahmet

Neighborhood Profile
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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