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“Interesting Slice Of History”
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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$113.86*
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Dan Brown 'Inferno' Tour of Istanbul
Ranked #6 of 1,105 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 November 2, 2013

As many fellow reviewers have noted, it's pretty easy to miss this architectural wonder of the ancient world - the entrance is humble and looks like a tourist police outpost. And the way Dan Brown sold it in his latest book "Inferno", you might like me be a bit surprised at the humble entrance.

Inside this humble entrance however holds an amazing architectural wonder - words won't do it justice but it is totally worth going. The audio guide is only slightly useful and you could do without it, but the Cistern is worth the 10 TL entrance fee.

Thank xpstyle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9,297 - 9,301 of 25,715 reviews

Reviewed November 1, 2013

Three days in Istanbul in the rain made us avoid standing in the long lines to get into this site. Finally we went first thing in the morning on our last day in town and the line was doable. We were rewarded by an interesting but not overwhelming experience. The Cistern is beautifully lit and even with swarms of tour groups was eerily quiet. When one factors in how early in history this engineering accomplishment was achieved, it earns a healthy "Wow." And, it reminded me of the lake under the Opera in the Phantom. Well worth the 10 Turkish Lira ($5), but bring Turkish money as they don't accept American dollars, Euros or credit cards. Our friends waited in line and got shut out because they did not have enough local currency.

Thank IraLourie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

Five minute walk from the blue mosque, this was an interesting find....Got there soon after opened, and had to queue for five minutes, but once inside it felt spacious, no fighting for space.
I'm one that likes to take photos, and didn't feel I was in the way at all trying for minutes to get my settings right.
Really nice rows of columns, the fish a bit of a surprise, and just nice for a wander around...didn't get much out of seeing medusa at the end, but you'd be silly not to dinner you were there.
Definitely worth seeing, for its unusualness.

Thank loup65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

I visited Istanbul with 14 members of my family to celebrate my mother-in-laws 80th birthday. As we were arriving early evening we booked by e mail to eat here based on Trip Adviser reviews. I am so glad that we did. We had good communication by e mail prior to arrival including menus and the restaurant opened (when it would normally be closed) just for us. They even came to the hotel to walk us to the restaurant so that we could find it in the myriad of narrow streets. It is a beautiful old building with a superb ambience, quite compact and oozing atmosphere. The food was excellent - everyone enjoyed their meal immensely. We did eat somewhere else the next night but the day after everyone unanimously wanted to return here to eat and the food was just as good. The restaurant owners couldn't have done more to make the evenings special - including giving us a birthday cake and a present for mother-in-law. I cannot recommend this place highly enough - if you are in Istanbul make sure that you eat here at least once.

Thank Harry D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

It is a surreal and an eerie experience down under in an underground cistern built beneath the city of Istanbul. Built in the 17th century, the cistern was once a basilica filled with gardens and surrounded by a colonnade. Watching the dark waters reflecting the eerie lights, we walk around until we reach a pillar, where the carved head of Medusa sits upside down, resting on the ground. It is one of the haunting memories.

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

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