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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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from $38.75*
Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and...
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from $50.00*
Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand...
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from $100.00*
Best of Istanbul: 1, 2, or 3-Day Private Guided Tour
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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” (1,217 reviews)
“fish swimming” (204 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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7,351 - 7,360 of 13,422 reviews

Reviewed October 24, 2014

This place is amazing. I never thought it would be as interesting and beautiful as it is. The atmosphere is mystical with the columns the lights and the water. Also a must see.

Thank L M
Reviewed October 24, 2014

It's a must see place in Istanbul. Well-preserved roman structure. The columns and the historical significance of the basilica cistern is quite impressive.

Thank Ron S
Reviewed October 24, 2014

For me this is the nicest place to visit in Istanbul. Completely amazing. A must!! Don't forget to make a wish on a pillar.

Thank Henalele
Reviewed October 24, 2014

Although a little pricey for Istanbul this is a place worth escaping the city heat and noise. Magical for children and adults with some amazing photographic opportunities. 20 to 40 minutes is all you need and often the queue can take longer than your visit...More

Thank Phil_Burch
Reviewed October 24, 2014

This amazing feat of engineering is a must see - it's unlikely that you will ever have seen anything like it. The cistern is a slippery walk, steps down and up and easy walkway within the cistern itself. It's dimly lit which gives it a...More

Thank MobileEm
Reviewed October 24, 2014

We waited for a short while to get in and then we were amazed at the size and lofty proportions of this underground reservoir, supported by ancient pillars and lit very atmospherically. Well worth the visit!

Thank CarolynScout
Reviewed October 23, 2014

We pretty much stumbled on this by accident and later noticed it in the guide book. Its interesting from an architectural and engineering perspective and definitely worth a look.

2  Thank leedy2013
Reviewed October 23, 2014

the whole concept is incredible and more so to think it was created in 542 AD. Definitely worth the wait in line but don't forget to look for the two heads of Medusa!

Thank LucyCasey
Reviewed October 23, 2014

Going down into the cistern, My girlfriend and I did not really know what to expect since we only read a little about this place and had yet to see any pictures. We were both blown away by how cool this is, and I highly...More

Thank Ryan S
Reviewed October 23, 2014

I was taken on a tour of the cistern, but had no idea what to expect. The lighting is stunning, and the columns so regal--I've never seen a water storage place that was as stunning!

Thank chezcherie
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
Abdulelah S
January 21, 2018|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from SALAH M | Reviewed this property |
Hi. Good Day 20 Tl less than 4.30 €
Abdulelah S
January 21, 2018|
AnswerShow all 8 answers
Response from Nick M | Reviewed this property |
we paid 20 Tl each
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!