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Basilica Cistern

Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 15 70
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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.
  • Excellent67%
  • Very good25%
  • Average6%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“medusa heads” (1,205 reviews)
“fish swimming” (199 reviews)
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Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 15 70
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Reviews (25,572)
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5,821 - 5,830 of 13,233 reviews

Reviewed May 7, 2015

And literally cool...if you are there in the summer (like I was) and about to melt (like I was), dive into this amazing architectural wonder...it was a good 30 degrees cooler below ground. And this site really is impressive and strangely eerie and calming at...More

Thank Lisa W
Reviewed May 7, 2015

The Basilica Cistern is a very interesting place. It is a must see whilst you are in the areas of the Hagia Sophia. Best to go early in the morning to avoid long queues.

Thank Jessica B
Reviewed May 7, 2015

This site is amazing: both its history and the state it is in (also, it played a role in Dan Brown's Inferno). Well kept, beautifully illuminated, with a few special spots to see. Definitely go there!

Thank Alfred V
Reviewed May 7, 2015

probably thousand years old, I don't know, How they build that, but whoever engineer it awesome intelligence on that time. How the Medusa come under the column it really meistory. And it still working fine. Must see in Istanbul,

Thank altaf_usa
Reviewed May 7, 2015

it was very impressive for a short visit. We enjoyed the visit and had a lot of fun taking pictures as sultans with their harem

Thank frankd0255
Reviewed May 6, 2015

This place is indoors and it's dim, but the light is perfect to admire the place. The silence inside gives a lovely ambience to the place.

Thank jonruizz
Reviewed May 6, 2015

When my son said that he wanted to see the Cistern I was a very reluctant traveller. Having no knowledge of the history, it became an unbelievable experience with both the wonderful illumination and unbelievable construction of the place amazing. Various points of interest and...More

Thank Anne G
Reviewed May 6, 2015

As we were in Istanbul during the Eid holiday the queues for all the attractions were long, including the one for the Basilica Cistern. However, the wait was well worth it. It's much larger than I anticipated. 336 columns stand 9m high in 12 rows...More

Thank Shegzy2015
Reviewed May 6, 2015

Quite stunning and interesting. Surviving from 3 BC this place used to supply water to the palaces, that was brought in from the hills through aquaducts (which can still be seen). The was it has survived and the wonderful Medusa heads are such a breathtaking...More

Thank Paulaking
Reviewed May 6, 2015

This is not a usual attraction but its really cool calm and beautiful. Its a roman water cistern built nearly 2000 years ago. It uses waterproof mortar between the brick and has been holding water all this time - makes you wonder about todays builders....More

Thank TessaGC
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
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Questions & Answers
September 15, 2017|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from Erica F | Reviewed this property |
Unfortunately, I don't believe there are any concerts in the Cistern, but Hagia Irene near Hagia Sophia seems to have concerts on a regular basis and is just gorgeous!
Imra-atu Y
June 4, 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from bas t | Reviewed this property |
same as the previous answer about 20 turkish lire
April 14, 2017|
AnswerShow all 9 answers
Response from ahjahanshir | Reviewed this property |
No. you cannot. Museum pass is basically for the museums, and basilica cistern is not a museum.