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Basilica Cistern

Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 1570
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from US$ 39
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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” (1,175 reviews)
“fish swimming” (201 reviews)
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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 (24,899)
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5,091 - 5,100 of 12,938 reviews

Reviewed 10 June 2015

This was (for me at least) the best and most interesting sight in Istanbul. What an amazing place! This is a must see for every Istanbul visitor.

Thank Nanderone
Reviewed 10 June 2015

Fascinating place and the giant carp in the water were amazing but as with most of the attractions, a complete rip-off at 20 lira per person. AVOID dressing up and having your photos taken. We never got to see our photos because the queue was...More

Thank diversaint_11
Reviewed 10 June 2015

I hadn't previously heard of this, but checked it out and reckon it was a major highlight of Istanbul. Despite the queue to get in, theer was plenty of personal space underground as the place is huge. What a great feat of Roman engineering. Kids...More

Thank garethe999
Reviewed 10 June 2015

Walking down the wet stairs into the bowels of this area, was cool relief, but awesome in its structure. The medusa's head upside down and on her side was amazing to see - plus how it was built in the first instance - breathtaking!

Thank Bronwyn H
Reviewed 10 June 2015

My family really enjoyed seeing the Cistern and walking along the pathways. The Cistern was built in 532 by Emperor Justinian and has beautiful columns that were recycled from old sites in the city. It is also very cool and damp in the site which...More

Thank 970marya2014
Reviewed 10 June 2015

if you can get away from the crowd this area has an amazing erie feel..............stop at the café for a tea any absorb the athmospher

Thank hometoitaly
Reviewed 10 June 2015

A must see! If possible have your tickets ahead of time. Be sure to walk around and see the Medusa heads. Floor can be slippery, but not dangerous.

Thank crosscreek7
Reviewed 10 June 2015

Yes this was used in a Bond film so I guess Hollywood agrees with me. When you are showing off your trip photos, every one will ask what is this, where is this, wow it is cool. so go and be cool, the pics will...More

Thank Chris B
Reviewed 9 June 2015

This place is a must if you visit Istanbul. Get the history of it, and how it was rediscovered - amazing. Being inside is another world, cool on hot summer days and just very atmospheric. There are classical music concerts there from time to time....More

Thank MikeKelso
Reviewed 9 June 2015

Underworld experience. This place is amazing. Ancient cistern with a variety of columns, lit up to provide a unique and magical experience. Take care looking at the Medusa's! Only detraction now is the tourist "traps" - photo ops etc cheapen the whole effect.

Thank bright108
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
Imra-atu Y
5 June 2017|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from bas t | Reviewed this property |
same as the previous answer about 20 turkish lire
15 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.
29 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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