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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”(1,313 reviews)
“fish swimming”(203 reviews)
“water reservoir”(161 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 (28,469)
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All reviews medusa heads fish swimming water reservoir water supply interesting place worth a visit hagia sophia entrance fee audio guide museum pass blue mosque old city columns underground inferno eerie engineering
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1 - 10 of 14,441 reviews
Reviewed today

Water was not an issue to the Ottomans! This Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. The cistern, located 150 metres southwest of the Hagia Sophia, was built in the 6th century during the reign of...More

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank 562griselp
Reviewed yesterday

A must, and central in the old city, interesting, dark and strangely comforting, this underwater Cistern and it’s building it supports are truly mesmerising, there’s a cafe and gift shop se large stone carvings are surreal and beautiful

Date of experience: May 2018
Thank istanbul455
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

This is a weird and wonderful short visit. It’s not included in the Istanbul museum card but is not expensive. It’s an old underground reservoir with I retesting columns. Don’t miss the Medusa ones and the weeping column. It takes max 30 minutes.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank J W
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Beautiful underground cistern with stunning architecture. Small but a must see when going to Istanbul. The price to go in was about 20 Lyra at the time.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank SamahE184
Reviewed yesterday

Basilica Cistern is an underground water storage that lie beneath the city of Istanbul . It was built during Byzantine reign in 5th century. Underground it’s damp, dark and daunting. I visited this place with my friend in February 2018. We literally had hair raising...More

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank 935marrib
Reviewed yesterday

Is being partially renovated also, but enough of it is open that one can imagine its incredible scale, symmetryand primitive beauty (for trivia buffs - it is also featured in "From Russia with love" and "Inferno", so you know it is an important landmark). On...More

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank CB12345
Reviewed yesterday

Although discovering the place is interesting, I think it is not worth to pay 20 TL to enter it. Specially there is some re-construction going on there.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank hammouc2019
Reviewed yesterday

You got to pay... not included in museum pass. Walk down staircases and be fascinated by history of Constantinople. We walked slowly and respect other visitors when taking pictures

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank Yusoff N
Reviewed 2 days ago

It is really a very huge old Byzantine cistern in Sultan Ahmet, the historic center of Istanbul. Made by emperor Justiniaus who also construct Hagia Sophia in 540. İt is really huge with a area of 9800 m2 and 336 columns, It is still full...More

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank nadiarda
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

I have visited the Basilica Cistern many times before and each time it amazes me The story behind how the Medusa heads ended up there being a part of the columns are a mystery The Basilica Cistern is one of my favorite places in the...More

Date of experience: June 2018
Thank oscar19791979
View more reviews
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
Ask a question
Irimescu D
13 January 2019|
AnswerShow all 8 answers
Response from Paradise551252 | Reviewed this property |
20 Turkish Lira
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