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Address: Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
Phone Number:
+90 212 512 1570
09:00 - 17:30
Open now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:30
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes

The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 24,594 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 8379
  • 3407
    Very good
  • 853
  • 107
  • 45

crying walls,fishes and art,all mixed there,highly recommend to see this building,topkapı palace,hagia sophia,blue mosques these are all walking distance

Reviewed 30 May 2015
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24,594 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 12,791: English reviews
Level Contributor
21 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2015

crying walls,fishes and art,all mixed there,highly recommend to see this building,topkapı palace,hagia sophia,blue mosques these are all walking distance

Thank Angelakorina
Karachi, Pakistan
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 30 May 2015

Out of so many places to visit during the trip one finds it important to go to Cistern. This is located near St. Sophia and in the Sultanahmet Square. It will not be over rating if I say that this amazing historical engineering feat. The first thing that attracted me was long queue of people, ladies and men for pass... More 

Thank Khalid S
Level Contributor
32 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2015 via mobile

I visited the Basilica Cistern and could not believe what a stunning place it is! Well kept underground treasure, the added man made lighting system is just perfect to enjoy the surroundings and for the visitors to take fabulous snaps. The 2 mystery medusa heads can be found at the end of the place, just be careful as the pavement... More 

Thank Grazia M
New York
Level Contributor
88 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2015

If you like photography, you need to beat the line and go early to the Basilica in Sultan Ahmet area close to the blue mosque and get nice photo in this dark large tank of water underground. The companion of the column, water, darkness and the color fish in the water will give photo you will keep for life.

Thank Abbady A
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2015

Amazing historical engineering feat -beautifully lit, piped music playing and fish swimming in the waters - look for the two Medusa heads - well worth the visit.

Thank M D
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
41 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2015

The Basilica Cistern is not covered by the museum pass but is only 20 TL and well worth it! I was not prepared for the enormity of the place. It reminds me of the Great Hall in the Mines of Moria (Lord of the Rings pt. 1) when Gandalf and the Fellowship enter a vast hall with countless columns and... More 

Thank Ronald G
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
142 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2015

This must be the best place in Istanbul to visit on a really hot day. It's cool, quiet, dark, numerous columns lit up by floor level base lighting. Very evocative of spooky Indiana Jones movies.... As you walk along the duck boards, water drops from above, trickling down your back.... Then you get to the Medusa heads and that only... More 

1 Thank cpccat
Level Contributor
62 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2015

Fascinating place that once watered the city, now beautifully lit and with pillars that are reported to heal and give energy.

Thank ManilaKwan
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2015 via mobile

This had not been on my agenda to see, but so glad I did. The queue was Lo g but very fast moving. Once inside and down the stairs - awesome.

Thank SCH2803
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2015

Always wanted to go here after seeing it in Russia with love. It seems so surreal, true to its name is a sunken palace. A must see for everyone. There is a another exciting activity the dressed up photo shoot where they give you a sultan's dress and your wife /girl friend dress of the queen all Turkish style and... More 

Thank sanjayh6

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Staying in Sultanahmet

Neighbourhood Profile
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 retain an air of peace and calm. It offers visitors a significantly less celebrated but nonetheless pleasant network of quaint lanes and side streets, majestic panoramas of the Bosphorus, and an impressive assortment of accommodation options for all budgets and tastes.
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