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Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

4.5
#3 of 6,359 in Things to do in Turkey
Must see · Architectural Building · Ruin
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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. Put Basilica Cistern at the forefront of your travel plans using our Istanbul holiday planning website.
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Basilica Cistern reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
31,479 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Simply amazing! This is the second time I have been to this attraction in Istanbul. To see the design, concept and construction of this cistern that still holds water today is amazing. Above ground... 
    Simply amazing! This is the second time I have been to this attraction in Istanbul. To see the design, concept and construction of this cistern that still holds water today is amazing. Above ground...  more »
  • Lovely experience, very interesting and beautiful place. Good for pretty photos. Make sure to book a fast track ticket in the internet, the lines can be very long. 
    Lovely experience, very interesting and beautiful place. Good for pretty photos. Make sure to book a fast track ticket in the internet, the lines can be very long.  more »
Google
  • This place is spectacular! Very dramatic and unique architectural design. Can not imagine how this place is well conserved. Each column structure has a very remarkable character. Very spacious and self-guided once you enter. It would have been nice if they offer a recorded audio tour to give people the opportunity to learn more about the place. If you want to skip the line highly recommend purchasing your tickets online. Also, note there is no restroom on site.
  • Absolutely gorgeous! Note, many say to purchase tickets online. We could not find the website, but maybe were stupid :-) we did have a long line which wrapped around the building when we got there. However, the line goes very fast! It’s not such a big deal to wait. We also did not get a guide, although they were several that were offering their services. It is so beautiful and cool and damp inside. It was amazing to think that this Fed fall of Constantinople! We had calculated that the water would last about a week for 1 million people.

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