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Basilica Cistern

Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 15 70
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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.
  • Excellent66%
  • Very good25%
  • Average7%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“medusa heads” (1,247 reviews)
“fish swimming” (200 reviews)
Open Now
Hours
Hours Today: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
LOCATION
Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
Sultanahmet
CONTACT
Website
+90 212 512 15 70
Ways to Experience Basilica Cistern
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Write a ReviewReviews (26,711)
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All reviews
"medusa heads"
in 1,247 reviews
"fish swimming"
in 200 reviews
"underground water"
in 146 reviews
"water supply"
in 138 reviews
"interesting place"
in 200 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 426 reviews
"hagia sophia"
in 575 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 207 reviews
"audio guide"
in 315 reviews
"museum pass"
in 188 reviews
"blue mosque"
in 378 reviews
"old city"
in 140 reviews
"columns"
in 2,065 reviews
"inferno"
in 229 reviews
"reservoir"
in 179 reviews
"carp"
in 147 reviews
"eerie"
in 445 reviews
Filter

1 - 10 of 13,688 reviews

Reviewed yesterday via mobile

The site is an architectural marvel esp since it was built in the 6th century. However it is very dark, wet, requires one to go down a long flight of steps. Would not recommend the very old and young to visit, or people with mobility...More

Thank Ginny G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday

The place is one of Istanbul's most well-known (and touristic) destinations. It is definitely worth a visit (along with the other cisters of Theodosius, Philoxenos, and many more that are less famous but equally interesting). I was however somewhat disappointed by the fact that: 1....More

Thank MattDS44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Well worth the 20lira entry price (not included in the museum pass). Its pretty damp but wasn't cold. Notice on the outside informs the water has been drained due to refurbishment and that the fish are pooled by Medusa.

Thank laneypops83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Ancient cistern that used to provide water to Istanbul. It’s a beautiful structure and very easy to get to. I recommend going after 5pm when the lines go down and it’s less hot. Once inside, you’ll Marcel at this gorgeous structure. It’s nice and cool...More

Thank Johnny G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Renovation on going. Very dark. The Medusa heads on a couple of the columns is neat. Scene from Inferno shot here.

Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago

The place is one of the must-see places in Istanbul. When you visit Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, the Cistern is really nearby. There may be nothing special inside but water and light makes this place specific. By the way, if you are James Bond...More

Thank Paweł C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Amazing fresh water underground system constructed for the nearby palace The columns were recycled from around the area so these people were very progressive in the recycling phenomena

Thank John H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago

We almost missed the visit - we did not want to que. It is a bit dark and it is also humid, but we were well dressed for it. To enjoy it more, better lights are needed. Architecture is really great and different.

Thank Rexonaut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

Made famous by Dan Browns book...." The Inferno "....its nothing like the film....but still worth a visit. Wear the right footwear....the floors can be damp and slippery.

Thank trevorviegas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

While the history of the place is fascinating, the underground chamber is too dark to see much. It was very damp, slippery and too crowded. Not recommended for people with fear of darkness or claustrophobic.

Thank HelenOon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nearby
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
...More
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
Deborah B
4 April 2018|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from Durga M | Reviewed this property |
There is no concert there it is a underground place
1
Vote
mechesister13
28 March 2018|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from Dimitris L | Reviewed this property |
Yes, it is open every single day! Even when some other museums are closed on certain days, the Basilica Cistern is still open!Just watch out for periods of religious holidays, as during those times opening times may vary... More
1
Vote
nanbarbie
20 March 2018|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from Tracey G | Reviewed this property |
yes, there is a ticket office at the entrance.
1
Vote
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