Photo of Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Is, TR
Photo of Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Is, TR
Photo of Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Is, TR
View all

Basilica Cistern

Monument / Landmark

Basilica Cistern44.5
medusa heads • fish swimming • underground water • water supply

Alemdar Mahallesi
Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410, TR
Get Directions
View on Map
Login and Start Mapping!
Log in with Facebook

Basilica Cistern has 24 Tips

That's you
Write a comment or add a photo...
  • Photo of Mohamed El Sabaa
    8 months ago
    Under water
  • Photo of Karl Caluyn
    a year ago
    Underground water supply. Underground Palace.
  • Photo of Nic Brown
    2 years ago
    Most unexpectedly awesome, a must-see. An extremely grand and sexy underground reservoir system, it's symmetry and sheer grandeur of conception are breathtaking.
  • Photo of U Haf
    3 years ago
    Short trip Christian place might interest the kids underground carvings
  • Photo of Taiwo O
    2 months ago
    I didn't come into the Cistern expecting much.. it's a pretty cool space. The medusa heads were really interesting. It's pretty close to the other attractions, so def worth it to take a pop in
  • Photo of Robin v
    2 months ago
    This underground water reservoir is excellent to visit during lunch time or when it is to hot outside. It is a nice place to wander through.
  • Photo of ITPK
    2 months ago
    The museum card doesn't involve this sight, but its worth paying extra for it. Its not like anything else and if you are awere of your movie history, you also know that they shot some scene in the movie From russia with love, in this "water palace".
  • Photo of Shawn S
    2 months ago
    It was amazing to see how such facility was created way back then, and the history itself is worth the visit. However: 1. Photographers will be disappointed. The water level is close to nil (as of late August 2017), and you will not get the beautiful reflection shots you see in google. 2. There is construction on going at the site. (as of late August 2017) All the drilling sounds took away the mysteriousness of the place.
  • Photo of TheFieldTrip
    2 months ago
    What a fascinating place. Here are some tips: - Go early, before the crowds. It's not a big place, so when it gets crowded, I can't imagine it being magical. It was pretty much empty when I went ...and I managed to get the most beautiful photos. - It's not big. You won't be here for longer than 45mins.
  • Photo of Maryam مريم M
    2 months ago
    It is worth visiting this building if you are in sultanahmet. I visited most of the sites in one day, which included: Blue mosque, Topkapi palace and Hagia Sofia. So this attraction is quite dark inside with water underneath. It was quite interesting seeing the history and the head of medusa.
  • Photo of amirhassan1974
    2 months ago
    an underground historical site with a sense of weird and wonderful back to Roman era located in Sultanahmet square.
  • Photo of Hazal G
    2 months ago
    This is usually a secondary place to vicit for the tourists but for me this should be in top three. It would take like 20 min once you've entered the place and it is definitely worth to wait the line.
  • Photo of Richard T
    2 months ago
    A great reminder of the civilising influence of the Byzantium world. Amazing that they still work. Well worth a subterranean visit.
  • Photo of get2chirips
    2 months ago
    It is a ticketed and popular location with a good number of tourists waiting to for admission, however, it is worth the wait.
  • Photo of Nuray84
    2 months ago
    I've been here before. If you like a historical vacation then you have to visit this place. It's cheap and very accessible with public transportation.
  • Photo of JuliyaM412
    2 months ago
    Mysterious place to see with amazing atmosphere. Huge underground Roman water source held up with 336 marble columns covering 9,800 sq. meters. Open everyday between: 09:00 – 17:30
  • Photo of retiredhaha
    2 months ago
    After spent approximately an hour at the Hagia Sophia, we walked across the street and pay $20 Turkish Lira per person to enter the underground reservoir. We decided to do the tourist thing to dress up as Sultan and Sultana; $25 Turkish Lira per picture and more for frame with LED. The place is bit of eerie, but full of history. The museum pass doesn't cover entrance fee for this place, but we have no complaint and enjoyed our visit to this underground reservoir.
  • Photo of Erica F
    2 months ago
    The Basilica Cistern is not to be missed if you are near Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. Just a few minute's walk away, you will descend into an otherworldly realm of history and beauty. Built to hold water for the ancient walled city of Istanbul in case of siege, the cistern stretches on into darkness as far as the eye can see (although part of it was under conservation with I visited so there were some false walls up preventing a view of the entire structure). You follow a well-marked series of wooden paths throughout the cistern ending at the famous Medusa columns and a large pond holding fish. The cistern is not completely full of water as it would have been in ancient times, or even 60 years ago when you could have taken boat rides in it, but it still gives you the feeling for the amazing architectural scale of the project and is certainly a unique attraction.
  • Photo of Said Mohammed A
    2 months ago
    I went with my teen daughter to visit this place after Dan Brown book, worth the visit and to see how the ancient Turkey used to collect the water for the Sultan Palaces over the centuries.
  • Photo of queen_tourist
    2 months ago
    It's quite something when you realize that under the busy streets of Istanbul is an underground cistern that used to hold liters of water for the district. The place is quite straightforward and could probably use a bit more info charts to appreciate the marvel that it is. Still, a must-see in my opinion. Can get quite nerve-wracking if you are claustrophobic or have fear of the dark.
  • Photo of swallowUk
    2 months ago
    Astonishing place with an interesting history. This was a very different experience than the usual sights.
  • Photo of brooks_camilla79
    2 months ago
    My favorite site in istanbul also known Basilica Cistern. A must see location if you are around the area, it is located right next to Sophia. the architecture is beautiful, and the way it is presented with the up-lighting make it spectacular.
  • Photo of Jorn H
    2 months ago
    We visited the largest cistern in Istanbul as part of a private city tour. After a few steps down you suddenly stand amidst many marble columns supporting the ceiling of a large system of water basins underneath the city. If only they could get rid of that tacky photo booth inside the cistern near the entrance where people ridiculously dress up as Ottomans to have a photo taken, it could be really magical. The walkway leads you to the Medusa's head. A great thing to do mid-day when it's boiling hot outside.
  • Photo of beverleya15
    2 months ago
    This was an awesome place to visit. On entering I thought it was an underground church but learnt otherwise. It was huge. It was lit with just the right amount of light to see the surrounds and the beautiful ceilings. What an amazing place.

Browsing History

Your Recently Viewed
Manage History

Similar places people viewed in Istanbul

  • Valens Aqueduct (Bozdogan Kemeri)
    Monument / Landmark
    roman engineering • nice park • ataturk boulevard • touristy parts of the city
  • Suleymaniye Mosque
    Monument / Landmark
    mimar sinan • great mosque • golden horn • grand bazaar
  • Dikilitaş
    Monument / Landmark
    anıt • çay • çay içmek • huzur
  • Sirkeci Station
    Monument / Landmark
    orient express • railway museum • whirling dervish show • stained glass windows
  • Yeni Cami
    Monument / Landmark
    spice bazaar • galata bridge • blue mosque • beautiful mosque

You may also be interested in

Browse Monuments / Landmarks in Nearby Neighborhoods

Is this your business?

You can claim your business and update business information.

Claim this Business
“A travel gem - I will be planning all of my trips with it alone.”
Download Citymaps to see how it can help you today.
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy