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Basilica Cistern

Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 1570
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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%
Travellers talk about
“medusa heads” (1,169 reviews)
“fish swimming” (201 reviews)
Closed Now
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Hours Today: 09:00 - 17:30
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 1570
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Reviews (24,773)
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1 - 10 of 12,875 reviews

Reviewed today

Great way to get out of the sun for awhile. Dim lighting gives the cistern a mysterious feel. Good pathways and signage help you to enjoy the experience. Included on the Museum Pass.

Thank mjhtnt
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Amazed at how this underground structure was preserved all these years. Apparently when it was no longer in use it got filled with mud and forgotten. Th cistern was rediscovered and is now a tourist attraction. You will be amazed at the size of it...More

Thank Jen R
Reviewed yesterday

This site is unique. Completely mesmerising and like so much of Istanbul, a visit here will stay with you forever.

Reviewed yesterday

One of the places that should have seen a place named after the moon after being built as a water collecting area in the time of Byzantine is in istanbul.

Thank Ahmet_gokcay
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

We enjoyed it very much since it is cooler summer time. We located 2 medusa heads but not the third one. We got great pictures with traditional Turkish Costumes. They were pretty rude and wanted to sell many pictures but we bought only one for...More

Thank LINChicago
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

The place is all underground so it is really the best place to beat the heat of the day for 45 min to one hour. Really particular place. It looks like a place in an Indiana Jones movie. Hopefully you have a good camera that...More

Thank MondoViaggio16
Reviewed 2 days ago

This is a very neat attraction (IMHO) to see how water was pumped / stored in the old city. It is pleasantly very brief, but worth it.

Thank JCW703
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Without historical base, it might be just wet, dark cave like. In spite of the entrance fee and pretty small place, It is worth to visit. Just google it before go there.

Thank Min young P
Reviewed 3 days ago

Unfortunately there is no water at the moment since it's being renovated, so the atmosphere is a bit less magic. Nevertheless it's a must see in Instanbul.

Thank Dario Sara B
Reviewed 3 days ago

Across the road from Ayasophia. Doesn't accept Museum Pass. Inside there is hardly any water in the cisterns. Makes for a good few photos of the dimly lit columns and the (God knows why) famous Medusa's head.

Thank yashgupta25
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 & AnswersAsk a question
Imra-atu Y
hi. how much is the audio guides at the basilica cistern?
5 June 2017|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from bas t | Reviewed this property |
same as the previous answer about 20 turkish lire
Can i use museum pass for this place???
14 April 2017|
Answer Show all 8 answers
Response from ahjahanshir | Reviewed this property |
No. you cannot. Museum pass is basically for the museums, and basilica cistern is not a museum.
Can you pay by USD or credit card? Which credit cards?
28 January 2017|
Answer Show all 4 answers
Response from orkenvandrer | Reviewed this property |
It was cash only (Lira only) when we visited in October 2016, both for the entrance fee and at the little cafe downstairs. The photobooth and the souvenir-shop accepted credit-card, both. Enjoy your visit!
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