We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Neighbourhoods
Neighbourhoods
Get directions
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
See all hours
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.

read more
Book In Advance
More Info
US$120.00*
and up
Small-Group Istanbul Tour: Skip-the-Line Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern...
More Info
US$38.75*
and up
Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and...
More Info
US$60.00*
and up
The Best of Istanbul Skip the Line Hagia Sophia Basilica Cistern and Blue Mosque

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 24,242 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 8298
    Excellent
  • 3355
    Very good
  • 838
    Average
  • 105
    Poor
  • 45
    Terrible
Miracle under the ground

You won't believe the columns which support the cistern. Some of them have the face of Medusa. Must be seen. Very close to St. Sophia and Palace.

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 19 May 2015
oymakas
,
Istanbul, Turkey
Add Photo Write a Review

24,242 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 12,641: English reviews
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
44 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015

You won't believe the columns which support the cistern. Some of them have the face of Medusa. Must be seen. Very close to St. Sophia and Palace.

Helpful?
Thank oymakas
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015

It smelled like centuries old mold, probably because it was full of centuries-old mold. The history was much more interesting to me than actually being there. One good thing is that it's quite cool in there, for obvious reasons, so it's a decent escape during the hot months. There were people eating and drinking at the cafe... eew

Helpful?
Thank 25001km
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015

This is such a unique and mysterious attraction. It's fascinating to see how the city's water needs were met. The Cistern is beautifully lit and the subtle Turkish music they pipe in adds to the beguiling ambience.

Helpful?
Thank amy g
Miami Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
132 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015

This cathedral size cistern was built in Constantinople in 532 to meet the water needs of the great Palace . And you should not miss the medusa heads column bases

Helpful?
Thank Pethabmia
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015

Amazing structure built hundreds of years ago. Unbelievably well preserved and shows the high level of architectural technology at that time. Worth spending time.

Helpful?
Thank Kei1958
Surabaya, Indonesia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015

This cistern is amazing. Very close to the Aiyasofia and Blue Mosque yet provides very different experience.

Helpful?
Thank Jexen2013
Greater Accra, Ghana
Level Contributor
73 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015

Worth the small entry fee. We went with a very knowledgeable guide which was well worth it. Need a camera with flash for this. Probably not great with a heavy pram. Ours folds and is light. Some guides will indicate that the ticket area will hold prams but this was not the case on our visit. If you are combining... More 

Helpful?
Thank pipnkent
San Francisco
Level Contributor
29 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015

Suggest that you plan on spending at least 30 minutes. We visited with a guide and spent close to an hour there.

Helpful?
Thank mmorg767
Amersham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
81 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 May 2015

Do visit when in Istanbul. Such an unexpected delight, and lovely and cool!. Queues as always with Istanbul, but worth the wait.

Helpful?
Thank Gill H
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
29 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 May 2015

Amazing Tardis of an underground cistern. Bigger than a football pitch, beautifully lit and reasonable que to get in. Not so keen on the pasha photo stall on the way in but at least it's in the cool. Surprised by all the fish and upside down medusas.

Helpful?
Thank gavdaddy

Travellers who viewed Basilica Cistern also viewed

 

Been to Basilica Cistern? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Basilica Cistern and other visitors
24 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (24)

Questions? Get answers from Basilica Cistern staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?

Staying in Sultanahmet

Neighbourhood Profile
Sultanahmet
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 retain an air of peace and calm. It offers visitors a significantly less celebrated but nonetheless pleasant network of quaint lanes and side streets, majestic panoramas of the Bosphorus, and an impressive assortment of accommodation options for all budgets and tastes.
Explore this neighbourhood