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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” (1,270 reviews)
“fish swimming” (200 reviews)
“water reservoir” (147 reviews)
Open Now
Hours
Hours Today: 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
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 (27,083)
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All reviews
"medusa heads"
in 1,270 reviews
"fish swimming"
in 200 reviews
"water reservoir"
in 147 reviews
"water supply"
in 142 reviews
"interesting place"
in 202 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 432 reviews
"hagia sofia"
in 198 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 211 reviews
"audio guide"
in 316 reviews
"museum pass"
in 191 reviews
"blue mosque"
in 383 reviews
"old city"
in 143 reviews
"columns"
in 2,086 reviews
"underground"
in 1,674 reviews
"inferno"
in 241 reviews
"engineering"
in 412 reviews
"eerie"
in 451 reviews
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1 - 10 of 13,862 reviews

Reviewed yesterday

This place used to provide Istanbul water. It's so clam and dark. At the end you can see Mendoza statue which was so interesting for me (specially if you saw odysseus king of ithaca movie).

Thank moradimahsa2633
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday

What a marvelous work of architecture! wow! I found this attraction as very different form what we generally see around. Has immense story and history to it to appeal you and make u sad as well. Very dark inside yet very visible so no worries...More

Thank indian352
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday

I know that this is on the list of "places to see" but it didn't do it for me. It is dark and damp, and must have been an engineering challenge to build, but aside from a few nice photos with the lanterns lit in...More

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

An important piece of history as it showcases fragments from the Istanbul’s past. The darkness inside definitely gives a feel as to how far underground it is. In spite of its significance, I was unable to enjoy the experience as I felt that there was...More

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

With "worthless" columns from antique pagan gods temples, Justinian order to construct this marvel of engineering with the goal to stock water to the city in a case of siege! This is one of the first examples of recycling in history! ;-)

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

Before visiting the cistern, I read up a little on the history and evolution of the cistern - making the visit much more significant and relevant. For only a 20 TL entrance fee, you get to enter and explore the dark and ancient cistern. And...More

Thank t0mmytraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago

By far the worst attraction I have even been to in my life. Dark, wet, with nothing interesting to see. I don't understand the hype.

Thank AlexDee86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Good to see. 20 Lira entrance fee. It's a bit dark and tread carefully. You don't need much time (30-45 mins). Highlight is Medusa column.

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

depp down you see so many pillar round 300 and 2 with the medusa head 1 up and 1 down they even have fish in one of the pool with water one pillar is call the tear one for the slave the die

Thank giramondo144
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

This was a treat. Fun and so cool. The Medusa's heads are worth it! take the time to read the signs along the way. This place has an interesting history and is kind of amazing .. it used to hold 100,000 tons of water!

Thank Aryn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nearby
Sultanahmet
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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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Questions & Answers
Mirey N
June 11, 2018|
AnswerShow all 9 answers
Response from lynnbarbosa | Reviewed this property |
Hi, how are you? I was in Basilica Cistern last year. The pictures that i uploaded was last year too. The last time I was in Istanbul is March 2018, i dont know If it’s under renovation, I saw long line of people outside the... More
1
Vote
Deborah B
April 3, 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
March 27, 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
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