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.
Tours To Basilica Cistern
Private Tour: Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour including Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $205
Duration: 8 hours
Private Layover Tour from Istanbul Airport & Hotels BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $155
Duration: 4 to 6 hours
Basilica Cistern Reviews
Not covered by the Istanbul Muzekart but well worth a visit. Don't miss the gift shop on the way out either they've got some unusual gifts. more »
We were diverted on our tour to going to this place due to the permanent closure of Hagia Sophia Museum, being made a fulltime mosque. But it turned out a fortuitous event, I immediately recognized... more »
This is one of my BEST experiences in Istanbul. If i can give it a 10 star i would. The whole atmosphere and interior of the whole space is just beyond your imagination. I would definitely recommend to buy the pictures as they dress you up in the authentic Turkish costumes. I still have it as an amazing souvenir. I loved every minute of this.
Cool place! I enjoyed wandering through the columns with the eerie soundtrack they played. The lighting was effective and really added to the experience. It is excellent value for money, but watch your step, it's very slippery down there. The wishing pool is a place to those a coin in and make a wish, only there was no pool, the water was very low. I know this is completely out of their control and my rating does not include this. I just thought it was funny watching people throwing money onto concrete and hoping something magical will happen. Definitely good you're in the area.
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