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Basilica Cistern

Open today: 09:00 - 17:30
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  • Excellent66%
  • Very good25%
  • Average7%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
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“medusa heads”(1,272 reviews)
“fish swimming”(201 reviews)
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
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Hours Today: 09:00 - 17:30
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Suggested duration: 1-2 hours
As featured in 3 Days in Istanbul
Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 15 70
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Reviews (28,091)
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All reviews medusa heads fish swimming underground water water supply interesting place worth a visit hagia sophia entrance fee audio guide museum pass blue mosque old city columns inferno reservoir eerie engineering
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1 - 10 of 14,274 reviews
Reviewed today

It was a totally fascinating and different experience for me to walk underground in a cistern lit by artificial lights and be aware of water dripping sounds. The highlight was of course to see Medusa’s head resting in its place. I thought there’d be canoes...More

Thank RenaissanceGirl12
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

There isn’t much to see or do except maybe a few picturesque scene along with the medusa heads. Just a note beware of huge number of tourist jostling for picture positions.

Thank iAMi88
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

You can’t go to Istanbul without visiting the Basilica Cistern. As soon as you walk downstairs you’re taken in by the magic of this place.

Thank sf_concas
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

When we visited there were no big queues to buy tickets. The cost was 20 lira per person. The Cistern is large and impressive. Although at this time parts of it were closed off for renovation. The sound of construction was noticeable. An the water...More

Thank CG101010
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

The most important aspect of viewing such a this atrraction is the unicity.It was really nice and they have nice dresses for photo there.

Thank 570arminh
Reviewed 3 days ago

Unique opportunity to see Roman architecture. There's no (or little) water but the water is not the point. How they made the place is amazing and the few sculptures were surprising but all in all, there is not much to see. I am glad I...More

Thank SEAPexplorer012
Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile

Although its vast underground area is kinda unique in the city but the whole exprience can be summarized in a few pictures that you can find in the Trip Advisor’s reviews.

Thank farbodn2017
Reviewed 4 days ago

Although the place was drained of water it was easy to get a feeling of the importance and size of this cistern. We probably spent an hour in the cistern. A tip would be to plan your trip when the queues are relatively quiet. Its...More

1  Thank Roam05218638740
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

This was a really cool place to see! A lot of history to be learned here. It was drained of water for restoration when we visited, still, it was great!

Thank J5227VXerike
Reviewed 5 days ago

We had been recommended to visit this place without actually knowing what exactly it entailed. Imagine our delight when we descended into a vast underground Roman reservoir which is also referred to as the Sunken Palace. It is supported by 336 marble columns in 12...More

Thank nicheili
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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
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Weijian L
16 August 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
8 August 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
ruba t
3 August 2018|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from 330antoined | Reviewed this property |
Hello Unfortunately i don t know Try to find the answer on the web But in general in istanbul touristic attractions are always open for public even religious sites such as Hagia Sophia and bleu mosque