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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.
  • Excellent67%
  • Very good25%
  • Average6%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“medusa heads” (1,188 reviews)
“fish swimming” (205 reviews)
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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 (25,236)
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1 - 10 of 13,085 reviews

Reviewed yesterday via mobile

This Byzantine cistern, a water reservoir for the city is located in the Sultanahmet area and should be included in your visit to Ayasofya and the Blue Mosque. It is a fantastic place with 336 columns and you can walk in between on special platforms....More

Thank Nesligul D
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

This place is not covered in normal tours.there is a charge of 20 turkish lira to view this place.this place is beneath the surface and in ancient times it served as a water storage for the turkish people.the place seems natural air conditioned when u...More

Thank dharmishmehta
Reviewed yesterday

I didn't like it very much. the ticket is 15 TL. it can talk about 30 mins. I don't suggest it for visiting

Thank Ahmed A
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

This is a very large monument underground just next to Ayia Sophia. There is little light inside and they do not allow visitors to take a camera 🎥 tripod inside so you have to count on your steady hands! Really worthwhile a visit -

Thank Mrragheb
Reviewed 2 days ago

It is just a big, dark, cistern...nothing more!....I don't now why there is a visiting fee of 20TL for this place!... it doesn't worth at all.

Thank HadiForoutan
Reviewed 2 days ago

It is very nice architectural design. It is under ground in Sultan Ahmed district near Hagia Sophia. If you are engineer or lover of history I advise you to go, but if you are not, don't waste your time. Fees is 20 lira per person....More

Thank Hamza_ayash
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

It reminded me the movie Inferno,..and it was a mysterious and beautiful place!I liked that! The medusa head was the best part of it! It is near the Topkapi palace and Aya soofia,and you can visit all of them once you came to sultan ahmad...More

Thank yalililili
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

It is worth going into this place as it is interesting to see an underground kind of castle but which was used as a water reservoir. Some times there are teams selling special costume photo sessions in Turkish historic costumes

Thank mmazmy
Reviewed 2 days ago

Don't expect too much from this place, after all, it's a water reservoir. Hardly any water flows inside the cistern anymore, so don't expect feet of water, there barely was any when we went. Still, it was interesting to read about the history and see...More

Thank md9512016
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

This place is well worth a visit... not too pricey to enter and the visit will only take about 15-30mins, depending on how long you want to stay down there. Istanbul is steeped in history and the basilica cistern is a perfect example.

Thank Matt S
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.