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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%
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“medusa heads” (1,189 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 (25,212)
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5,941 - 5,950 of 13,071 reviews

Reviewed 7 April 2015

Located right by the Hagia Sofia this ancient underground water cistern is worth a visit. Cost is 20TL each, Turkish cash only. It's not included in the museum card. The cistern is interesting as it has been restored with many original pillars. It's amazing to...More

1  Thank SkiingCyclingDave
Reviewed 7 April 2015

Did not expect this to be worth visiting but it certainly was, historic cistern system with a vast amount of ancient pillars.

1  Thank Annette H
Reviewed 7 April 2015

Unlike other tourist attractions, the Cistern is quickly accessible and, ironically, most interesting because it is both an engineering marvel AND relevant to the lives of everyday people. My only disappointment: that the aqueducts feeding the cistern are no longer intact. In case you have...More

1  Thank Pentwater--summerjoy
Reviewed 7 April 2015

The cistern is stunning, atmospheric and vaguely creepy! Well worth a visit when in Istanbul. The lighting and music really enhance the experience.

1  Thank FOR71
Reviewed 7 April 2015

The underground water system is fun to see for 5 minutes. It is not worth $10. It's a series of columns and water. Period. I'd skip it.

Thank SeeingTHEworld2012
Reviewed 7 April 2015 via mobile

This place is different from normal museum in the sense of design, history and even the dim lighting adds a special touch to the area, its quite eerie but really interesting. They even have a corner for photo shoot with costumes, but quality of poctures...More

1  Thank Eayle8
Reviewed 7 April 2015

I love Istanbul, but I found the Basilica to be very underwhelming. There also is a costume photo shoot place right inside the basilica, which was fun and all, but took away from the ambiance a bit. I feel like it's one of those things...More

Thank Christine H
Reviewed 7 April 2015

Wow is the best expression for this place. It is a wonderful temple to visit and would be my number one place to go to.

Thank Linda S
Reviewed 7 April 2015

Although it takes just about 40 odd minutes to see the place, it is amazing. From above ground, one can never imagine what lies beneath the ground. Convenient to visit, as it is close to haga sophia. The museum pass does not work here, and...More

Thank arvid59
Reviewed 7 April 2015

The queue to see this place was quite long but as it does not take too long to go round it does go quite quickly so stick with it as it is interesting once inside.

Thank CaptainsWife1
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 4 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.