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Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

(24,000+ reviews on the web)
Architectural Building
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • A beautiful and suggestive in dim light with lights that emerge from the water and a widespread Turkish music in the background. The architecture of the tank is very nice with lots of columns of different materials. At the bottom are the two sculptures of the face of Medusa at the base of a column. Deserves
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  • That was my personal highlight of my Istanbul travel next to the girl's Tower. I knew the area from a video game AC revelations, but it is then something else even in the cistern to wander around. Greek, Byzantine, and Ottoman architecture come together here. The light gives a special atmosphere and people cavort around the two severed heads of Medusa. Ideally suited for a rainy day and close to the Hagia Sophia. A must for every Istanbul trip!
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  • Not on our original tour plan but a truly impressive engineering feat by the Romans. You may have to queue to enter.  more »
Google
  • For $20 Liras ( $10 Liras for Locals) you get to walk underneath the city in this massive cistern which held most of the cities water for centuries. The music and acoustics are perfect. Not so easy to get great pictures because of the dark lighting. Be sure to look for the 2 Medusa heads in the corner, there are signs pointing you in that direction . Audio guide is $10 liras
  • Awesome place to see in istanbul. A kind of discovery of underground world of istanbul. Just under the street. Do not forget to see movie of james bond "from russia with love " befor ethe visiting this place.
  • It was really amazing inside. The lighting was perfect. There is a small cafeteria inside the cistern. We had a coffee sitting on the pavement above the waters. It was so mystic and the feeling was so different that i couldn't express. Love to visit again.
  • Good but not that goodness Good place to be visited But it's not that goodness, you have to consider that it is not accessible with the museums card. So you have to bay for it Of course it's a amazing architecture building. You will not see anything more than you saw in the photos If you have a good camera with good night mode, you will have a good pictures inside
  • Though costs a bit (20 TL) it was an impressive visit. Vast space and interesting medusa sculptures. Good escape from hot sun for a brief moment. Audio guide doesn't really tell much. Haven't seen anything like that elswhere.