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Basilica Cistern

Open today: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
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  • Excellent66%
  • Very good25%
  • Average7%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
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“medusa heads”(1,325 reviews)
“fish swimming”(203 reviews)
“water reservoir”(163 reviews)
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...more
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Hours Today: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
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Suggested duration: 1-2 hours
As featured in 3 Days in Istanbul
Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
+90 212 512 15 70
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Reviews (28,795)
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All reviews medusa heads fish swimming water reservoir water supply interesting place worth a visit hagia sophia entrance fee audio guide museum pass blue mosque old city columns underground inferno eerie engineering
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1 - 10 of 14,545 reviews
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

The concept of being inside a water tank built so much time ago is absolutely impressive. There are 3 columns which are special, outside of that there is nothing particular, more of the same architecture. There is no access for disabled or baby stroller and...More

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank Anfrist
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

This is quite an exquisite sight to see. It's easy to get to and is quite extraordinary. Try and go as early as possible, as with most of the sights in Istanbul, so that you can enjoy it while it's a bit more quiet

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank tascak
Reviewed yesterday

Go there to see how the water was storred in ancient time! it is a huge reservoir , to day almost empty, which could conserve almost 100000 MQ of water. Hundreds of colums most of them brought from ruined Greek temples which plenty of them...More

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank Adomvatik
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

A nice place underground gives a feeling of some kind of eerie but beautiful sense of quietness and peace A nice place to visit all at a stone throw from our hotel Sura Hagia Sophia

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank Shoebarshaf
Reviewed 2 days ago

Very close to Hagia Sofia. You can visit both at the same time. The stone columns and the Medusa heads were glorious.

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank traveleralison
Reviewed 3 days ago

Located in the historical Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, just behind Hagia sophia museum, Basilica Cistern or Yarabatan Sirnici in Turkish, is a beautiful underground structure. Previously used as a water supply unit to the district.

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank wanderersdiary
Reviewed 3 days ago

The two Medusa columns are the big attraction. There is also the "column of tears" in which the engravings look like tears. It is dimly light inside and somewhat wet, so need to walk carefully. There is a traditional Turkish costume dress-up photo business inside,...More

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank 2TravelLight
Reviewed 3 days ago

the reuse of old columns was amazing , different heights incorporated with the great brick work in the roof arches. the brick protected from the water by the stone columns

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank Gordon M
Reviewed 3 days ago

You must see, during a trip to Istanbul. In February we did not have a crowd to visit. The entry fee was 20TL, but only cash.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank Andrej G
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

Basilica cisterna One of the biggest underground water reservoir in Istanbul. It was built more than 1500 years ago.

Date of experience: March 2019
1  Thank Nikolay_Belyaev
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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
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Irimescu D
13 January 2019|
AnswerShow all 8 answers
Response from Paradise551252 | Reviewed this property |
20 Turkish Lira
Weijian L
17 August 2018|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from david p | Reviewed this property |
It was open three weeks ago. The entrance is diagonally opposite where the Big Bus Tours park by the Hagia Sophia. It is also just across the road from the Hagia Sophia
8 August 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from s_gilchrist62 | Reviewed this property |
you can message the basilica directly and ask, via their website nothing is listed for any concerts if you go to the website it will be in Turkish.... click on the top right, EN for the website in English