Trip Planner:   Europe  /  Turkey  /  Istanbul  /  Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

4.4
#3 of 6,365 in Things to do in Turkey
Must see · Architectural Building · Ruin
Create an itinerary including Basilica Cistern
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.
Create a full itinerary - for free!

Tours to Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
31,295 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Go there. Not a long tour but fascinating to see the extraordinary innovation 1500 years ago. Really recommend if like me you get a bit bored of churches and mosques. This really was a huge boost... 
    Go there. Not a long tour but fascinating to see the extraordinary innovation 1500 years ago. Really recommend if like me you get a bit bored of churches and mosques. This really was a huge boost...  more »
  • What a waste of money, laser light show around pillars, no explanation what it was and how it came about. Laser show ended with in minutes, whilst still waiting for it to begin. 
    What a waste of money, laser light show around pillars, no explanation what it was and how it came about. Laser show ended with in minutes, whilst still waiting for it to begin.  more »
Google
  • It's not that bad to see this building underground but it's not amazing for me .lots of columns ,low light
  • The place is a nice engineering work. However, it is without a guide or audio explanation, and without additional value it does not worth the money (120 TL). You will just enter, see a 5 minutes video with light effect on the walls and columns, listen at audio effects and music. This can be the same with video online. Unfortunately I feel no additional value was provided. The place has history, people are interested in knowing something. If I would like to be impressed I would've go to magic tricks show. 4 stars to the place itself, 1 star for the added value.

Plan your trip to Istanbul

  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.