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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 #6 of 1,262 things to do in Istanbul
Type: Ancient ruins, Sights & Landmarks
Fee: Yes
Owner description: The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient...
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Attraction details
Type: Ancient ruins, Sights & Landmarks
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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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2015 NEW via mobile

We got there 10 min before closing time. There was only several people in line for tickets, and line moved very quickly. Then through security and stairs down to the Cisterns. Spent 30-45 min there, walked around and took pictures. Water constantly drips down, so prepare to get a little wet. Overall, very nice relaxing visit.

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St. Petersburg, Florida
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2015 NEW

One of the highlights of our time in Istanbul! From the hustle and bustle of the historic district of Istanbul, you descend into a cave-like building underground. It's pitch black, except for an eerie red glow that lights up the columns. We took the audio tour to get some history of the building as we walk along raised platforms through... More 

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2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015 NEW

The cistern in one of the most unique things I've every seem. it is a construction that is stunning in both design and function. It is a walk through lost history and should not be missed.

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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015 NEW

I liked everything about this site historically - apart from the indifferent staff taking your money and the extremely rude young man who was selling audio visual units which I didn't buy as a result.

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Koersel, Belgium
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
34 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015 NEW

Advice, vistit in the morning to avoid waiting queus. I was there on a Saturday around 10.15am, no waiting. Entry 20 TL but definitely worth it. What a beautiful place, with romantic background music, ideal place to visit as couple. Impressive pillars and perfect lightening. Be careful for slippery floors. 2 impressive pillars with Medusa.. The visit does not take... More 

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Fountain Hills, Arizona
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015 NEW

WOW!!! If you want to learn a LOT about Istanbul's history and shift from Roman to Islamic rule, as well as harvesting rainwater for the masses, plus reuse of building materials then this is for you. It's really a fascinating stop.

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Crete, Greece
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
49 attraction reviews
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2015 NEW

Certainly one of the attractions not to be missed. These underground cisterns are just across the road from Hagia Sofia and in their heyday they could store 100,000 tons of water. Search out the Medusas heads and spot the fish. The entry to the cisterns is not included on the museum card.

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Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2015 NEW

Had to wait 30 mins in a queue before allowed inside. Once inside u will be amazed at how big it is. The statues are mesmerising and the local outfit is worth a try.

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Malaga, Spain
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
28 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2015 NEW

It's very interesting to be inside a cistern. I loved the lighting inside. It's like a work of art underground.

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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
9 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2015 NEW

20TLR is well worth the price to be able to see this beautiful "Sunken Palace" build in the 6th century during the reign Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Must see it in person to appreciate how impressive this structure really is. Go early in the morning or later toward the evening to avoid hug crowds.

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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?