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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
Website
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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Most recent review
What a well preserved structure, totally amazing!

This underground cistern is very impressive. It can hold 150,000 cubic meter of water. The arches, columns lighting were well thought through. Being a water engineer, i admired... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed March 29, 2015
travelat70
,
San Francisco, California
via mobile
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13,202 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
45 attraction reviews
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015 NEW via mobile

This underground cistern is very impressive. It can hold 150,000 cubic meter of water. The arches, columns lighting were well thought through. Being a water engineer, i admired the ingenuity went into this monument.

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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015 NEW

Adjusting your eyes to the sudden darkness is the first experience of this place. the walk through the columns with water dripping from the roof is not so bad but the music played is horrible... just spoils the mood.

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Sydney, Australia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW

Nothing could prepare me for this unusual experience. The wait only 15 mins which is short compared to most istanbul sites. The engineering amazing for its time and the visit almost a religous experience.

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Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
25 attraction reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW

I have been here on two different visits. This is a must see in Istanbul, although most city tours don't include it. It is beautiful and mystical, very calming. Don't miss the two Medusa head statues towards the back. You have to veer off to the left to see them. The whole visit takes about a half hour or less,... More 

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Berkshire UK
Top Contributor
171 reviews 171 reviews
48 attraction reviews
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW

Not many cities open up their disused underground water works as tourist attractions, and for this I must congratulate Istanbul. (Thames Water are definitely missing a trick here) The shear size of this underground construction is amazing and it's in very good condition considering its age. The carp swimming around in the shallow water are also great to see too.... More 

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Shanghai, China
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW

This is amazing. You must go down and see it. There were a lot of people in it while we were there, but it is worth it.

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Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015 NEW

A spooky subterranean space with a very interesting history. The hundreds of columns , dim lighting, water filled cisterns make it a surreal place. Definitely a must seein Istanbul.

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Raleigh, North Carolina
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
15 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015 NEW

A friend recommended we go to the cistern. Had not heard about it. Really cool place to visit. Great place for pictures. Very different. Definitely worth a quick visit.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
12 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015 NEW

It was much fun and interest to go underground and visit ancient water reservoir. Also knowing that a "James Bond" movie "From Russian with Love" was filmed here makes this site very appealing and historically placed both in modern era as well as the ancient times. It is a good place to visit, have much fun and enjoy the history... More 

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Province of Savona, Italy
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015 NEW

This is a cistern deriving from the olld Bizantine-Roman time. It is interesting to see beacause of the architectural size and form. The lights give the place an additional misterous atmosphere, But attention: it is not included in the Museum Pass to get into the most important museums of Istanbul. It is not clear why. The entrance costs 20,- turkish... More 

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