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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”(1,326 reviews)
“fish swimming”(203 reviews)
“water reservoir”(163 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
Open Now
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 (28,826)
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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 14,559 reviews
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Another must-see in Istanbul. But see if you can go when there are few people. We went on a Saturday and crowds of yelling children on school trips somewhat detracted from the wonderful grandeur of these Roman vaults and great engineering feat (as well as...More

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank UKJmb
Reviewed yesterday

Great and spooky venue, get there early the queues can be massive. We gave it a miss in the afternoon and went first thing in the morning, only a dozen people down there and made for a spookier atmosphere. Worth the money and the 9am...More

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank kittykat711
Reviewed yesterday

I would have liked to give this a higher rating - however, it was too dark and you could not see anything. I am sure if the lighting was fixed this would be amazing. However, the lighting is out and its quite dangerous as the...More

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank InterstellarTravel
Reviewed 2 days ago

half of this site was closed for renovations, but even the half that we did see was MASSIVE. walking through it, you can't help but feel amazed at how the cistern was constructed and the purpose it served. truly amazing! among my favorite sites.

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank tima03
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Too dark. There were constructions going on during our visit. Couldnt see anything interesting. A bit dissappointinf

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank Karishma S
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

I was both amazed and intrigued by the place. I am claustrophobic but I was very comfortable as the space is quite big. Definitely worth a visit.

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank isa_amit
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

This is one of my favorite places in the entire world. An underground castle like cistern with a dramatic feel. The light bounces of the water and the columns which gives it a feel like no other. Lots of beautiful columns and 2 Medusa heads...More

Date of experience: March 2019
Reviewed 2 days ago

Basilica Cistern is a giant underground water reservoir that was built in the 6th Century to provide water for the Great Palace. There are 336 columns inside but three of them are worthy of special comment...two columns have the heads of Medusa at the base,...More

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank Davidjellis
Reviewed 2 days ago

When I went to the Cistern I was hoping to see it as it was presented in the film Inferno. Unfortunately the water had all but been drained for some reason and the under water lights were not all on. Still, quite beautiful to see....More

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank newflyer
Reviewed 2 days ago

The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. This cistern was built in the 6th century. These were used to store water and supply it to the people living there. One has to pay some...More

Date of experience: May 2018
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