We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Improve this listing
Sponsored by:
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
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.
read more
Visit Basilica Cistern like an insider
Special Offer
$295*
and up
Istanbul Super Saver: 2-Day Troy and Gallipoli Tour plus...
Private Tour
$113*
and up
Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including...

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 14,313 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 9578
    Excellent
  • 3737
    Very good
  • 855
    Average
  • 112
    Poor
  • 31
    Terrible
One of my favorites

This place was SO cool. The piped in music is maybe a little over the top, but you definitely get a real vibe from it. Suggest wearing shoes with good traction as the walkways can... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 22, 2015
Carly C
,
Boston, Massachusetts
Add Photo Write a Review

14,313 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Hungarian first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Slovak first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Thai first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

This place was SO cool. The piped in music is maybe a little over the top, but you definitely get a real vibe from it. Suggest wearing shoes with good traction as the walkways can be slippery.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Shepparton, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

A serene oasis in the centre of a bustling city. The cistern lies beneath the busy streets and is both mysterious and beautiful. We spent a long time enjoying its moist serenity and viewing its historic columns and the Medusa Heads. We had seen massive lines to get in and decided to visit first thing in the morning. It was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Boulder, Colorado
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

In my travels, I've never seen anything quite like this special place. When the Roman columns are lit up, plus the reflections from the water, this underground cistern is just stunning to behold. The contrast with this quiet dark beauty below and the daylight beauty above (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia) is also striking. The entrance to the cistern is about... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
London, England
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

Not your run-of-the-mill place to visit - but that's its charm. Especially good to visit on a hot and busy day, it's a cool retreat from the crowds and an interesting slice of history too.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Pretoria, South Africa
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

Well worth a visit. A fairly quick walk through and great for pictures. Make sure you have a flash camera.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Brisbane, Australia
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

This place was fantastic. So much history and preserved so well. One of the best attractions in Sultanahmet.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Brasov, Romania
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
13 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

Impressive and worth seeing. It is close to AgyaSofia. Long queues at the entrance... Liked the pillors and the Medhusa sculptures in the cisterne. It is good to have a guide to get all proper explanations

Was this review helpful? Yes
Svendborg, Denmark
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

If you are a DAN BROWN fan, you must experience the Cistern and finde the head of Medusa. And if you are not, this quiet place full of water and a forest of pillars is like being in an underground church and worth a visit. Audio-guide can be rented at the entrance.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Norwich, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

Was not sure what to expect, but the really impreseed by the Cistern, brilliant on a really hot day, could have stayed there for ages. Had a personal guide (bypassed Q's), so much more info describing the history etc. Certainly worth the visit. Try to avoid days when the cruise ships are in, gets very busy and the Q's can... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
California
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
65 attraction reviews
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2015 NEW

Having read Dan Brown's book whose climactic moment is set in the cistern, I was curious to see the place. I was not disappointed! It doesn't take long to visit, but the price (and the wait, if there's a line) is worth it.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Basilica Cistern also viewed

 

Been to Basilica Cistern? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Basilica Cistern and other visitors
13 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (13)

Questions? Get answers from Basilica Cistern staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?