Trip Planner:   Europe  /  Turkey  /  Istanbul  /  Historic Sites  /  Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern, Istanbul
(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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The site is a bit strange and peculiar, so maybe I liked. It is fairly, and this full of columns there are some with a very handsome design. I have to pay to enter
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  • One word for here is amazing, I have never seen anything like it. Full of character and history, totally just breathtaking. 
  • In the middle of the city. take a leaf out of history .... Considering maybe nothing.. But when you think about the many years ago. When you imagine.. you are suggesting a place that excites a lot.. Still be maintained. failure to do so in a separate value instead of AVM
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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.