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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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USD 50.00*
and up
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USD 38.75*
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Dan Brown 'Inferno' Tour of Istanbul
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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” (1,188 reviews)
“fish swimming” (205 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 15 70
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Reviews (25,224)
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5,091 - 5,100 of 13,077 reviews

Reviewed 23 June 2015

The cistern supplies water to the city of Istanbul. It is rather dark inside so be careful when jostling with the crowd. Also the floors are slippery because of the water. But well worth it to visit and see the head of Medusa upside down...More

Thank Juliana_Te0
Reviewed 23 June 2015

If you haven't seen a huge cistern before, this will be a nice stop. Be sure to go far enough in to see the Medusa pillars. Imagine what it was like to depend on this cistern for water. We've come a long way!

Thank Lin R
Reviewed 23 June 2015

A delight full place hidden in the heart of Sultanahmet! My cousin, brother, and I loved our stay there. Close to the old city and safe at all hours. We checked in the first night of Ramadan and heard the call late in the evening...More

Thank Ehcatl_windwalker
Reviewed 23 June 2015

one of my favorites in istanbul, its a place full with mistical vibe. Is just beautiful! They have the turistic photo boot, be careful you will end up buying all the photos!

Thank Stereosil
Reviewed 23 June 2015 via mobile

The cistern is not only a great place to visit out of the sun but unexpectedly special in its own right. I loved the medusas the rows of columns and the carp. The atmosphere was also really good. Takes a good half hour to walk...More

Thank mark t
Reviewed 23 June 2015

The underground Cistern was quite a treat and really a place I didn't know what to expect and I was blown away by the scope and beauty of this historic attraction. It is quite large and very mesmerizing. I highly recommend stopping to see this...More

Thank Sam J
Reviewed 23 June 2015

This is one of the most exciting places that we have visited in the world for it has been around since 500 AD and is beautiful and intact. The water is clear, complete with fish swimming in it for the sole reason to eat the...More

1  Thank barbara b
Reviewed 23 June 2015

This tour does not take very long but is very interesting. You really get a good impression of the skill the ancients had to build such cisterns. I remarked to our friends that we need these now in California. Just take the tour and look...More

Thank Bob R
Reviewed 22 June 2015

I did not know about this, and companions suggested it. It is right across form Hagia Sofia, and we waited a short bit, then went in to huge underground colonnaded cisterns that stored water in Byzantine times--cool! Plus, it really was a great way to...More

Thank Leianne C
Reviewed 22 June 2015

It was an interesting place to see with the many colums and the water. Most interesting is its historical place in the providing of water to the inhabitants of Istanbul. We are not fans of the touristy photo ops in period dress that had nothing...More

Thank Helen F
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
16 September 2017|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from Erica F | Reviewed this property |
Unfortunately, I don't believe there are any concerts in the Cistern, but Hagia Irene near Hagia Sophia seems to have concerts on a regular basis and is just gorgeous!
Imra-atu Y
5 June 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from bas t | Reviewed this property |
same as the previous answer about 20 turkish lire
15 April 2017|
AnswerShow all 9 answers
Response from ahjahanshir | Reviewed this property |
No. you cannot. Museum pass is basically for the museums, and basilica cistern is not a museum.