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Address: Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, Turkey
Phone Number: +90 212 512 1570
Website
Today
09:00 - 17:30
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:30
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Fee: Yes
Description:

The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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I love this cistern. Very crowded at the weekends and on holidays. You'll have to wait in long queues but once you enter and observe the place, you wont want to go out especially... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 24 April 2015
Barkan
via mobile
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23,620 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 12,397: English reviews
Level Contributor
46 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2015 via mobile

I love this cistern. Very crowded at the weekends and on holidays. You'll have to wait in long queues but once you enter and observe the place, you wont want to go out especially in summer time. Thumbs up.

Helpful?
1 Thank Barkan
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
28 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2015

You will have a better time visiting the Basilica Cistern if you read up a bit about it. The hundreds of marble columns are really a sight to see. Apart from the Medusa bases, take note of the unique column with the Hen's Eye and the tears. The tears were supposed to commemorate the slaves who died during the cistern's... More 

Helpful?
Thank wannacdworld
Buffalo NY
Level Contributor
110 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2015

We got in line early in the day and that was a good choice. Later in the day we passed by and the line was out of control. It moves pretty fast, and they take cash only, so make sure you have enough. While we were in line we were approached by several people trying to get us to go... More 

Helpful?
Thank Sara P
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2015

Amazing to think that this was built in the 6th century. Never seen anything like it anywhere else. We sat at the cafe near the exit and took it all slowly. My unexpectedly favorite attraction in my week in Istanbul.

Helpful?
Thank pijiuren
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
362 reviews
162 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2015

The steps were wet as was the floor so you need to step very carefully. What an amazing structure this is and the lighting really made it magical. The roofline and lines of columns (keeping the roof up) were very interesting.

Helpful?
Thank MarjofromBrissie
Tacoma, Washington
Level Contributor
152 reviews
103 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2015

Certainly different as an attraction and interesting for its use, but not overly interesting. Rows of columns lit in the dark. The medusa heads were the only stand outs. The resident fish were a highlight though not very visible. This attraction could be skipped if you are short on time.

Helpful?
1 Thank Paul M
Community of Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2015

the tickets were so expensive and i disliked this place. i wont coma again and i do not recommend to be in

Helpful?
1 Thank Jane W
Bucharest, Romania
Level Contributor
61 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2015

Practically it is really hard to imagine the way of building at that time. The underground building has huge columns. Big fish are swimming in water. I saw some red fish, too. At the end of the way through the Cistern are two columns with Medusa heads, very impressive! Above the church there are houses built on it! It is... More 

Helpful?
Thank 4-MIND
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2015

The Basillica cistern is located right near the Aya Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the Islamic Arts Museum so we decided to include it in our travels. The first day we passed by, there was a giant line, so on the second day, we made sure to go earlier, when the line was shorter. It is a beautiful, amazing space, that's... More 

Helpful?
Thank Victoria S
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2015

I think the Basilica Cistern was my favorite sight in Istanbul! It's a very interesting place with a couple of different layers of history. We had a guidebook that gave us a good run down of its history, which was good because they were all out of explanatory brochures in English. It's a really interesting place to just wander around... More 

Helpful?
Thank Rachel T

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