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“Favorite Sight in Istanbul”
Review of Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern
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$50.00*
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Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand...
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$38.75*
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Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and...
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$115.21*
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Dan Brown 'Inferno' Tour of Istanbul
Ranked #6 of 1,089 things to do in Istanbul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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.
Reviewed May 5, 2013

This was my favorite attraction of our 3 day trip (my wife's was the Dolmabache Palace, also great!) - probably because it exceeded all expectations. There was a short line and minimal fee to get in (10TL pp), which is not true of most other sights. It is a totally unique, very cool place that is unlike anything I have seen before. Be sure to load the Wikipedia page before you go underground and lose cell service as it has a lot of great info on the history, the fish and the medusa heads. It is an easily overlooked attraction in Sultanahmet that you should put on your short list!

Thank Ben S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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10,156 - 10,160 of 25,236 reviews

Reviewed May 5, 2013 via mobile

One of must see places in Istanbul. This sould be on top of you itinerary if you traveling with your kids. This dark gigantic structure makes you feel that you've reached the Aid's world... Few more minutes there and you imagine him drifting his boat on the river of death... Medusa Gorgon bas relief beneath two of colums intensifies your imagination ... ;))))

Thank Andrey B
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed May 5, 2013

Interesting for 10 to 5 minutes but not really worth the 30 minutes in line. Steep stairs and then boardwalks over the reservoir

Thank Paul M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2013

Everybody else here seems to love this attraction, so probably you will too. But for me...well, see that picture at the top of the page, the one where everything's dark and there are columns and water? That's what you'll be paying 10 lire to see, it'll look exactly like that and that's all it'll look like. No big deal, you say? Well then save your money.

Thank stockmktgenius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2013

The Basillica Cistern is an underground cistern of Byzantine engineering. The roof is held up by many cloumns and you walk along the walkways looking at the water which is full of large fish. I enjoyed seeing the faces of Medusa carved out of the columns, one head on its side and one upsidedown. Very dark inside as it is underground and not a lot to see but think it is worth a visit.

Thank ValStobbs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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