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Basilica Cistern

Open today: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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Traveler Overview
  • Excellent66%
  • Very good25%
  • Average7%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“medusa heads”(1,319 reviews)
“fish swimming”(203 reviews)
“water reservoir”(163 reviews)
About
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...more
Open Now
Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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Suggested duration: 1-2 hours
As featured in 3 Days in Istanbul
Contact
Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
Sultanahmet
Website
+90 212 512 15 70
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Reviews (28,639)
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14,490 results
Traveler rating
9,237
3,926
1,067
175
85
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LanguageEnglish
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9,237
3,926
1,067
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85
Show reviews that mention
All reviews medusa heads fish swimming water reservoir water supply interesting place worth a visit hagia sophia entrance fee audio guide museum pass blue mosque old city columns underground inferno eerie engineering
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1 - 10 of 14,490 reviews
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

After visiting the Haghia Sofia, we visited the Basilica Cistern which is just around the corner. It is an impressive underground waterway. It is dimly lit with a couple of special stops. Make sure you walk to the end and look at the two medusa...More

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank 670fidan
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Something out of this world. Go down and know the Basilica Cistern is quite an experience; is to see a scenario that could well be the Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets set. The place is magical, full of arches, columns and a mirror...More

Date of experience: March 2018
Thank TortuosoTraveler
Reviewed 2 days ago

More can be done to make this place famous. It would be good to have little write ups in a few languages with lamps for people to read how the system used to work, where did the water came from, etc. The lightings were good...More

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank Food4gods
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Extraordinary feat of engineering. Very close to Hagia Sofia and interesting that was built around the same time. Make sure you go the the very far end to see the Medusa stones at the base of 2 pillars. Demonstrates how the whole building was built...More

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank Voyager212
Reviewed 3 days ago

All water was removed and most of the place is covered by decorated walls due to ongoing maintenance works. Anyway ot is worth visiting it. Some little water was left to allow tourist get the mirrored pictures. I enjoyed it.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank DemetrioRak
Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile

It costs 20TL to get in. Worth to have a look around! Be careful when you’re walking around, can be slippery (it was raining outside when we get there, not sure if it’s related?)

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank crisbnp
Reviewed 4 days ago

The beauty of this place lies in its history. It's worth the visit if you're in Istanbul. But we were disappointed with the photo booth at the entrance, they will attract you with promises of photos in Sultan and Sultana dresses and rip your money...More

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank Rosette M
Reviewed 4 days ago

We were completely surprised going down the stairs. The mystery of the entire experience could not be diminished by the restoration going on at the time of our visit.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank 250antoinettev
Reviewed 5 days ago

Took a while for our eyes to acclimatise to the dim lighting but when we did we were amazed by the size of the cistern. We saw the highlights ie the medusa head and the column of tears and enjoyed our walk marvelling at the...More

Date of experience: February 2019
1  Thank Neil E
Reviewed 5 days ago

this place really is a must visit. The sense of history is overwhelming and even if as when we visited there is still a lot of renovation going on it is so stunning in scale. So peaceful too. Good value in terms of cost.

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Steve D
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Nearby
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
...More
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Questions & Answers
Ask a question
Irimescu D
January 13, 2019|
AnswerShow all 8 answers
Response from Paradise551252 | Reviewed this property |
20 Turkish Lira
1
Vote
Weijian L
August 16, 2018|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from david p | Reviewed this property |
It was open three weeks ago. The entrance is diagonally opposite where the Big Bus Tours park by the Hagia Sophia. It is also just across the road from the Hagia Sophia
0
Votes
thebrownsflyaa
August 8, 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from s_gilchrist62 | Reviewed this property |
you can message the basilica directly and ask, via their website nothing is listed for any concerts if you go to the website it will be in Turkish.... click on the top right, EN for the website in English
0
Votes