Serefiye Sarnici
Serefiye Sarnici
4.5
Historic SitesPoints of Interest & LandmarksArchitectural Buildings
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
1600 years old Şerefiye Cistern is the world’s oldest landmark which is implemented with 360° projection mapping.
Duration: < 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: 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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See what travelers are saying
  • gpants1
    Sydney, Australia410 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Delightful sight and sound experience.
    Also known as the Theodosia Cistern. A great experience of digital projections onto the columns and roof of this amazing space. There is an accompanying soundtrack to the projections and is a great way to experience this feat of architecture. A shame the staff were so disinterested. Not engaged or friendly.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 14, 2023
  • Christine Lily
    Sydney, Australia1,293 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Ancient history meets modern.
    A small Roman cistern located just outside very touristed areas. Only recently discovered and renovated. They have time slots ( 1/2 hourly) to enter as they have a light and sound show played over the ceiling and columns. Only downfall is that you can't just go in and have a look.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 18, 2023
  • MarkBald
    Sydney, Australia218 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing 4, hospitality 0
    We visited as an alternative to the Basilica Cistern as it has been closed for the last few days. Arrived early morning & did not have to line up. As with most places staff are more interested in their phones & hospitality is non existent. The building is magnificent & historically amazing, however there is no information regarding. Changes to price recently are now charging tourists higher prices & locals are a quarter of the price. Rating is for the complex & not the staff or service offered which is non existent.
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 1, 2024
  • Susan C
    Melbourne, Australia1,492 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Cistern light show
    The Serefiye or Theodosius cistern was the second cistern we visited. The Basilica Cistern is much bigger with this cistern having only 32 columns instead of 336 (that's a big difference). It is much less atmospheric with less water apparent, particularly with the metal braces on the columns and ceilings and the lighting boxes on the ground. It makes up for that by having a 15 minute light and sound show running every half an hour or so. We didn't have to wait to enter and were just told that the light show would start in about ten minutes. The light show itself is fairly abstract and while it calls on Turkish imagery it is not at all informative but it is very colourful. If you exit via the steps (there is an elevator option) you can pause at the top and take a good look and/or photos of the domed roof. This city museum was one of those that offered free entry to women for International Women's Day on two days (both the actual Friday and then Saturday) so I convinced my husband that seeing a second cistern was not unreasonable given I wouldn't have to pay.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 1, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles376 reviews
Excellent
278
Very good
57
Average
23
Poor
8
Terrible
10

Lev740
Sacramento, CA105 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
Istanbul Serefiye Sarnici cistern.
Our planned visit of Basilica cistern falls through due to the renovation. By the way, it is still being advertised as a part of variety sightseeing packages and our guide did not inform us if this situation.
So next day we found out of other available cisterns nearby and we purchased tickets to Serefiye Sarnici cistern for 150 TL/person.
We really did not know what to expect since no explanation was given in the promotional brochure.
We were treated to panoramic movie-like show for about 20 minutes and spent another few minutes walking around and taking photos of the columns supporting this structure. Just a short movie with no explanation or refernces to the pictures.
And there is another point that really surprised us and not in the good way.
I understand that in many establishments toilets were available for the paying customers, but not there. To use one, you will need to purchase something from the overpriced cafe on the second floor.
Overall - Pathetic and disappointing experience.
This is my first and only such a negative review in over 35 years of traveling all over the world.

Happy Travels
Written August 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

benoithanquet
Istanbul, Türkiye254 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Family
Quite disappointed with the new “sound and light” presentation which doesn’t fit at all with the beauty of the building. Very unnecessary and destroy the beautiful atmosphere of freshness and serenity which had made this place so special. Besides the entry price has been multiplied by five in less than a month and admission is only possible at the beginning of the hour. I feel the places has been ruined by this installation which doesn’t justify the increase in prices (100 TL per pax)
Written July 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PamCanuck251Preston
Chorley, United Kingdom96 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021
They have obviously invested a lot of money in the cistern light show and it is very well done. However 100 TL is far too expensive for what you get, a fifteen minute projection presentation. The information board outside leads you to believe that the presentation takes about 45 minutes, this only relates to how long you can spend inside before you have to leave in order for the next group to enter.
With the Basilica Cistern temporarily closed, Serefiye is doing a brisk trade. Our hotel was opposite and we could see the queues, hope they weren't as disappointed as us.
Written November 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HAYLEY c
Paphos, Cyprus88 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023
Absolutely stunning cistern.. Great light show.. But €17 per person for 25 minute visit is ridiculously expensive.. All children over 6 are charged full price. Really just not worth it.. Such a shame
Written April 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Travelaround59
London, UK2,027 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020 • Solo
I just stumbled into this place, last time I was in this area there was still a construction site! So I was definitely interested in seeing this and...amazing!
Of course is not the Basilica Cistern or the 1000 columns (whatever is the name!) but they have done such a wonderful job that instead of stepping into a humid dark place you step into an...installation of modern art!
The columns are “dressed” with steel rings and the lights that flood them create a wonderful art feeling. The sleek wooden “floor” finished up. Is a small place (it only cost 20Tl) but I spent more time here than in other cisterns just marvelling at the installation. Magical!!!
Written November 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark Ortiz
Salt Lake City, UT11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
An impressive underground water storage system from the 5th century. The entrance fee was 100 Turkish Liras that includes the light and sound presentation. Our tour guide Furkan took us here since the Basilica Cistern was under restoration and it is really worth a visit.
Written August 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Frank D
Slidell, LA1,361 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
Also known as the Theodosius Cistern

While this is most certainly a cistern, it makes no pretense to show the history or construction of a cistern. This is PURE LIGHT SHOW!

It is also very nice and cool - a great place to escape heat, though the humidity is extreme.

It's a little pricey but does present a very intense 15-20 minute light show, If that's what you want to see - you'll be pleased.
Written July 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Colleen B
Vancouver, Canada36 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Couples
We had read and seen YouTube videos of the cistern but to see this magnificent place is worth how ever long you have to wait to get in. We were so lucky to be in Istanbul just as the cistern had reopened after renovations. Not only is this a very important historical site it is now an art gallery as well. Carefully chosen art pieces have been installed throughout making the experience extra special. Highly recommend a visit. Be prepared for warm humid conditions, the walking surface can be slippery at times but it is not the kind place you want to rush through.
Written November 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ybjolly
82 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
Only costs a couple of GBP to get inside. Beautiful cistern. Less busy that the basilica cistern I believe (although I didn’t visit the basilica cistern) but they all look similar. Was used to store water in the early centuries, discovered during some building work and preserved.
Written August 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

buzzy7
Maltepe, Türkiye114 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Couples
Newly opened, there is a light show once every hour for 10 minutes which was impressive but it's hard to understand the story that the light show is trying to convey, more information about the history would make the experience better.
I thought the entrance fee was rather expensive 150TL for tourists and 50TL for locals (June 2022) as you only really spend about 20-30 minutes here. Unfortunately, I didn't find it comparable with the Basilica cistern which is much larger and is currently closed for renovation.
Written June 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Serefiye Sarnici - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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