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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” (1,198 reviews)
“fish swimming” (203 reviews)
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Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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 (25,400)
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11 - 20 of 13,162 reviews

Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile

Definately worth a visit to satisfy your curiosity if you like history. It is very dark and with some interesting facts laid out across the way. Not very big. Kids may finding it boring!

Thank Wheed101
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

This place is fantastic they used to keep water here so they will have it when a invasion or war. Some movies have been film here the last one inferno. Also two heads of Medusa are here.

1  Thank JRWhite007
Reviewed 5 days ago

Interesting to visit, how did they do/built this; however not a top destination as there are much more interesting sites to see in Istanbul.

Thank Peter_vB2015
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

Myself and my husband visited recently. It was recommended to us to visit. I personally was not that fussed as it was very dark, not that big and took about 30 mins to get round with pictures. Although the Medusa heads are interesting and the...More

Thank adapicton
Reviewed 5 days ago

Historical under water storage facility partly being used by the Topkapi Palace and other important places in Istanbul. However, I don't think it is worth a visit as there was no clear explanation about how it was being used, mechanism to transport water from this...More

Thank RidzAziz250895
Reviewed 6 days ago via mobile

Beware this does NOT accept your museum card as this attraction is supported by a different group rather than the association that cares for the Hagia Sofia and Tokapi Palace. Essentially it's just a huge water storage area with pillars holding the room up from...More

Thank natsulam
Reviewed 1 week ago

A most interesting place, the restoration is being done to preserve the wonders of this build. How clever the Romans were to build this huge cistern and capture its water for the population. A pathway which can be a bit slippery is followed around the...More

Thank Warrick M
Reviewed 1 week ago

I didn’t think much of this, it’s dark, oppressive and comparatively expensive. You can see everything in about 15 to 20 minutes, probably less if you don’t want your photo taken with the Medusa column or in dressing up clothes!

Thank Katherine M
Reviewed 1 week ago

This was such a great underground historical sight converted to a cistern from an ancient basilica and for any film or Bond fans the place James Bond took a row through in "From Russia with Love". Its both serene and beautiful inside and really quite...More

1  Thank Londonmarshall
Reviewed 1 week ago

Not worth saying much. Just visit. Its pretty cheap, lasts 40 minutes its a beautiful underground monument created by the Greeks. Turkish people get a discount and the queue is usually small. I recommend ou visit during the time that the temprature is high as...More

Thank Geokam007
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
15 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
4 June 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from bas t | Reviewed this property |
same as the previous answer about 20 turkish lire
14 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.