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  • Address: Yerebatan Caddesi 13
  • Hours: 9 am- 8 pm
  • Admission: 10 TL

Istanbul ATTRACTIONS See all

Yerebatan Sarayi (Basilica Cistern)

Atmospheric music, rosy flood lighting and the lilting sound of water lapping on marble – entering the Underground Cistern known in Turkish as Yerebatan Sarayi - or Basilica Cistern, is an experience that charms all the senses.

Built to store water, this has to be the fanciest and most enormous well you’ll ever see. The cistern dates back to Byzantine days when the city was called Constantinople.

Built by Emperor Justinian in the mid-500s, the cavernous underground water-storage area has a vaulted brick ceiling supported by a forest of Corinthian-carved marble columns.

If this eerie, magical place looks a little familiar, you may recognize it from a scene in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love.

On your walk around the Basilica Cistern, seek out the two pillars that have the face of Medusa carved onto their base.

Practical Info

The Basilica Cistern is in Sultanahmet. The entrance is opposite Hagia Sophia on Yerebatan Caddesi.

Tours & Tickets

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4.5 star rating: Recommended 818 Reviews

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4 star rating: Recommended 41 Reviews

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Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

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4.5 star rating: Recommended 14 Reviews

Discover Imperial Istanbul on this private half-day sightseeing tour. Visit Hagia Sophia, which is today one of the most magnificent museums in the world and ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

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Get to know Troy, Gallipoli and Istanbul’s Sultanahmet neighborhood on an action-packed Super Saver from Istanbul that’s spread over three days. Combining a ...  Read more

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Duration: 3 days (approx.)

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