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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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Basilica Cistern

Amazing how this was constructed so many years ago and the concept that thry used was remarkable. Tip. Use the Audio Guide as it is quick useful. There were no information... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed September 3, 2015
Sarah K
,
Durban, South Africa
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16,964 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

Amazing how this was constructed so many years ago and the concept that thry used was remarkable. Tip. Use the Audio Guide as it is quick useful. There were no information booklets in English

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Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
59 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

Difficult to believe that so much trouble would be applied to make a water system so beautiful. Eerie and beautiful.

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NYC
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

This place is a must-see. After spending centuries undiscovered, the old water reservoir for the city center is eerie and impressive. Do not miss the roman column of Medusa upside down towards the back.

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Washington DC, District of Columbia
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54 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

Try to go when there is live music. Not to be missed regardless. Fantastic artistry and architecture.

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london
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

Well worth it as interesting; don't bother with the audio as there is information as you walk around. DO dress up and have your photos taken at the dressing up/photo area !! it looks like a real tourist bore but I finally persuaded my husband and 3 teenage sons to do it and we had such a laugh - the... More 

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Iran
Level Contributor
129 reviews
91 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

This cistern is marvelous with its mysterious ambiance and amazing lighting theme. The millennium old water reservoir leaves a remarkable memory of strength and durability of stones within several centuries. the outer wall has four meters thickness! Visiting the two columns with two Medusa's heads at the northwest corner of the cistern is a must see.

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Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

Hard to believe the effort put into the contruction of this precious subterranean water tank. Also hard to believe it got hidden for 1400 years. I don't know about acoustics, but they should consider on doing some music concerts down there.

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Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

Impressive but according to the descriptions I have expected a slightly larger space - larger sizes, but definitely worth a visit

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Kolkata (Calcutta), India
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

This is nice place in the heart of Istanbul with water fillers in the bottom it keeps calm and serene. Long pillars give breathtaking views and excellent pictures

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Level Contributor
64 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2015 NEW

BASILICA CISTERN. The name is unique and difficult to comprehend until you actually visit the place. Bisilica Cistern is actually a massive and a vast water reservior system or water storage tank built underground during Byzantine era to provide sufficient water supply to Constantinople [Istanbul] at that time. Basilica Cistern or Yerebatan Sarnici as the Turkish refer it as 'Sunken... More 

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Staying in Sultanahmet

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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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