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Basilica Cistern

Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 1570
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US$ 38.75*
and up
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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)
Closed Now
All hours
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 (24,909)
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5,111 - 5,120 of 12,942 reviews

Reviewed 8 June 2015

We weren't expecting this to be so amazing. It was like another beautiful little world down there. The architecture is interesting, considering it was built only to store water. I'm sure in the summer it would be a welcome relief from the heat. There was...More

Thank MommaT2014
Reviewed 8 June 2015

Wow. What a place to visit. Amazing archtecture and a hidden treasure. We wnet 30 minutes before it was due to close, so it wasn't that crowded and we got to take out time and photograph the various columns and statues.

Thank klshanster
Reviewed 8 June 2015

Well worth a visit during an Istanbul stay. Quite an incredible structure to have been made so many years ago.

Thank PierrelePilote
Reviewed 8 June 2015

For me this was the highlight of my day, it has the most inviting intriguing atmosphere, the lighting is subdued and has a air of mystery about. The history is fascinating, along with Medusa and the mythology. This is an absolute must visit for any...More

Thank KathyMare
Reviewed 8 June 2015

When you find the entrance to the Basilica Cistern it is very ordinary but once you pay and go in, it's WOW. This place is huge, much bigger than the little building on top. It is a much different atmosphere, rows and rows of columns,...More

Thank John D
Reviewed 8 June 2015

Interesting place. Definitely worth a visit. Our 10 year old daughter came along with us and took it all in.

Thank Calan Blanes M
Reviewed 8 June 2015

Loved the cool temperatures as you walked down into the cistern. The fish in the shallow waters were below your feet. The lighting was very good down there and is a marvel how well maintained it is down there considering how many people come through...More

Thank WessandCorinne
Reviewed 8 June 2015 via mobile

It was quite serene walking in to the cistern, adjusting our eyes to the darkness. It's nothing we've ever seen before and just incredible. It was a rainy day so we didn't have to line up at all. Of course there were crowds but this...More

Thank spangle27
Reviewed 8 June 2015

Very interesting and fascinating place to visit. To get the most out of your visit a personal guide is highly recommended.

Thank Jane01092014
Reviewed 8 June 2015

Originally built to service the water needs of the great palace but lay submerged until the mid 80's when the Istanbul council renovated and cleaned it allowing it to opened to the public in 1987. The site was first used in the Bond Movie 'From...More

Thank thesmdm
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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