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Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

Categories: Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.6/5 based on 22,000+ reviews on the web
Explore the largest of hundreds of ancient cisterns located below the city at Basilica Cistern. This fascinating chamber of the underground water systems, commissioned in 532 by Byzantine Emperor Justinian, is remarkable for its practical and artistic value. After a complete renovation in the 1980s, the cistern became one of the most popular tourist sites in Istanbul's Sultanahmet district. Walk along the wooden platforms beneath the dark, vaulted ceilings of this cathedral-sized cistern and see its famous Medusa-head pillar and Hen's Eye column. Our Istanbul tour planner makes visiting Basilica Cistern and other Istanbul attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
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  • I was happy that I visited the Basilica Cistern because it is one of the tourist attractions in Istanbul but it was not all that significant to me. I think it is not everyone's cup of tea. 
  • It is a short and simple but very beautiful, the lights in the darkness give special beauty to the imposing columns, very interesting heads of Venus
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  • When I visited the Basilica Cistern I was open-mouthed. It is of an endless underground gigantic columns that were built with the purpose of maintaining the reserve of the city's water. Today, a tourist attraction that can not miss.
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  • My second visit to Istanbul and I didn't know about this place the first time. This place is brilliant! Totally unexpected and incredible how it's still standing today. Built by the Romans 2000 years ago and it's under your feet most of the time when you're walking above. Costs 20 Lira each (about £5). It's really cool down there so it's great to get out of the midday sun. It's very dimly lit and has soft melody playing which adds character to the place. There's fish swimming in the shallow pool and does feel a little creepy. The walk around inside takes about 20mins but we took it slow and easy taking pics and reading the boards the info about the history. Worth a visit for sure.
  • A cool, calming respite as well as a fascinating historical site! Watch your step because the floor is slippery, but the naturally refreshing chill, strategic lighting, and incredible feats of ancient engineering are definitely worth a visit. Skip the hokey tourist trap photos and gift shop, but the little cafe can be a refreshing pause before heading back into the sun and crowds.
  • Was a water depot. Today it is lit very romantically and looks interesting. 2 of the columns are supported by medusa heads. Its a ashort visit. The audio guide does not tell much, lasts only 1-2 mins. Not worth the money.
  • We really enjoyed our time here. Reasonably priced and lovel and cool in the Istanbul heat. The medusa carvings were interesting and the music and fish very atmospheric.
  • Yerebatan Sarnici or Basilica Cistern is the largest underground tunnel in Istanbul. It's close to the Hagia Sophia just a single block or you can walk from Topkapi Palace too. Here is the art of design of the pole before placing it. Over three hundred of the pole is a pole marking the beginning of a few tears. "Peacock-Eyed" are referred to Wikipedia. But in my opinion, I think it's the evil eye, or more likely due to the Turkish Evil Eye is believed to be ready to protect bad things from the evil. Another incentive for the tourists to visit the tomb 2 million people per year, they come here because the two pillars at the base of the head of Medusa.
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