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

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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Small-Group Istanbul Tour: Skip-the-Line Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern...
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Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and...
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Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand...

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Another mesmerizing attraction in Istanbul!

Rich in history and simply beautiful once inside. I was in awe and didn't want to leave as the place really draws you in.

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 6 January 2015
yycflip
,
Calgary, Canada
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24,051 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 12,560: English reviews
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
256 reviews
78 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,858 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2015

Rich in history and simply beautiful once inside. I was in awe and didn't want to leave as the place really draws you in.

Helpful?
8 Thank yycflip
Vernon, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2015

What a surprising, wonderful discovery during a hot day in Istanbul. The water was dripping like teardrops from the huge marble columns. The soft light from lamps gave this large space a magical aura and made me feel like I was back in the 6th century. It is truly a fascinating insight into the architectural feat responsible for providing a... More 

Helpful?
Thank vbmccallum
Cape Town
Level Contributor
43 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2015

Loved this... peaceful and beautiful. Well worth the entrance fee. No need for a guide as there is information on boards inside.

Helpful?
Thank Thalia68
somerset
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2015

the roman water storage system is an amazing feat of engineering, Makes you wonder as to the man power/slave power that was expended to achieve this.

Helpful?
Thank jojo373
Herndon, Virginia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2015

After going to a palace, mosques, and other buildings, my kids started not wanting to do any more sight seeing. For our 7 and 12 year olds, it was something different and magical. The historical and architectural aspects as well as beautifully lit place with carp swimming in the water was more than interesting. 7 year old was free to... More 

Helpful?
Thank kickboxmama
Fort Myers, FL
Level Contributor
157 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2015

I didn't give much thought to the Basilica Cistern as I was reading Dan Brown's novel "Inferno" a year or so ago, but I can never get the sight of it out of my mind now. It's hard to describe the haunting but calming cavern of water supported by a multitude of ancient pillars, including the famous upside-down Medusa pillars.... More 

Helpful?
Thank 4hersheybear
Mississauga, Canada
Level Contributor
50 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2015

Basilica Cistern is very uniqe and amazing underground reservoir. Its d efinately is something different.

Helpful?
Thank REAtraveler1
Parma, Italy
Level Contributor
125 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2015

I have never experienced this feeling. The feat of making this underground cistern over 2.000 years ago is difficult to imagine. But the word Cistern does not give justice to what you see: is a cathedral underground, with vaults, columns and views, it si an underground lake with its own ecosystem and fishes, it is a monument to the ingenuity... More 

Helpful?
Thank Egidio69
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
64 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2015

Been trying to see this place for the last two times I've been here but the line is always huge, this time I started coming to Sultanamhed before 9:00 am and it paid off, by 8:55 am I was 3rd in line and enjoyed this place almost to myself. Don't miss it!.

Helpful?
Thank Carlos U
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2015

i found this underground cistern very interesting. it is just opposite the Hagia Sophia. the queue is always a minimum of half hour wait. there was a photo booth inside where you dress up in Turkish costumes. that takes about 45 minutes so keep some time in hand.

Helpful?
Thank LalitaD

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Staying in Sultanahmet

Neighbourhood Profile
Sultanahmet
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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