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Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) Tours

star-4.5
28 Reviews
Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi)
Beautiful yet eerie, Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) isn’t your average underground well. Dating back to the Byzantine era, the huge cistern was built in the mid-500s on the former site of a basilica. More than 300 marble columns provide a grand, serene atmosphere to what was essentially subterranean water storage. 
 
The Basics
Located in the Sultanahmet district (Istanbul’s “old town”), Basilica Cistern is easy to visit during a day of sightseeing. Many tours and attraction passes include the cistern along with other top sites such as Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Measuring 450 feet (140 meters) long and 230 feet (70 meters) wide, the cistern is reached via 52 steps leading down to walkways over the water. Look for the two columns with carved Medusa heads. 
 
Things to Know Before You Go

  • Wear comfortable, nonslip shoes to traverse the steps and the often-wet ground.
  • The entrance for wheelchair users and other visitors with mobility challenges is at the cistern’s exit.
  • As the cistern is underground, the setting is damp and cool. Take a layer if you don’t want to feel the chill.
 
How to Get There
Enter Basilica Cistern from Yerebatan Caddesi (street) in Sultanahmet. It’s a 20-minute walk from the Spice Market, the Eminonu tram station, and the Eminonu pier, where the ferries arrive.
 
When to Get There
The cistern is open daily from morning till evening. In summer, it’s particularly popular in the middle of the day to escape the heat.
 
Where You’ve Seen Basilica Cistern

The basilica has been mentioned or featured in several books and movies, most famously From Russia with Love, one of Sean Connery’s James Bond films from 1963. It’s also a setting in Dan Brown’s Inferno, the sequel to his previous works The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.
Address: Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, Fatih, Istanbul 34110, Turkey
Admission: Varies
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Recent Reviews from Experiences in Istanbul

star-5
Very convenient!
rajashreemaiya
, Jan 2020
We had a good experience with the guides and did not have to wait in line anywhere, was very convenient. Guides were very helpful and knowledgeable.
star-5
Fantastic!
Nomad364364
, Dec 2019
This was perfect for a couple of days in Istanbul. You don't have to rush, because there's several different times you can go see the different sights, which is especially helpful if you fly in late or have an early departure. Really enjoyed the knowledgeable guides and being able to skip the long lines. I was traveling with my dad and this is perfect, because I didn't want him doing too much walking so it was great that we could split up the sights over two days.
star-5
Perfect combo for quick overview
LucasH430
, Oct 2019
If you have not much time, this give you a great overview of each site and freedom to explore at your pace.

130 Tours and Activities to Experience Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi)

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VIP Istanbul Combo Ticket: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Baslica CisternAttraction Tickets

VIP Istanbul Combo Ticket: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Baslica Cistern

star-4.5
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Istanbul half city tour with guide .Private tour included hagia sofia musuem,basilica cistern,blue mosque.Skip lines . icludes:museum tickets
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star-4
Skip the line and listen from your guide the story of The Basilica Cistern - is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. Venture into the underground palace that is filled ancient wonders such as the Medusa Pillar Bases, and the Hen’s Eye Column. This sunken palace has so much to hold that they shot scenes of Hollywood movies in it. Exploring had never been this adventurous!
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star-4.5
Fit all of Istanbul's attractions at the top of your bucket list into one packed day, with the help of an expert local guide. Stroll Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet neighborhood, brimming with iconic buildings and storied streets. Tour the Blue Mosque, one of the most important sites in the Muslim world. Delve into history of the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Istanbul Hippodrome as well as the 'sunken palace' of Basilica Cistern. And you won’t want to miss the and the bustling Grand Bazaar or savory 3-course lunch.
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star-5
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Basilica cistern tour & fast track Cultural Tours

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star-5
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star-5
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Istanbul Basilica Cistern: Guided TourBus Tours

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Basilica cistern not only a place where you can find ancient wonders but also seeing yourself some spots that were used as movie shooting location. A place where you can explore several hundred ancient cisterns that lie hidden beneath the city of Istanbul. If you ever watched Tom Hanks movie which is the adaptation of Dan Brown's thriller inferno in 2016 you will see underground cistern where he was down there. Not only that, you will also see this basilica cistern in the James Bond movie called from Russia with love. It will be great if you can experience it personally by visiting the basilica cistern where you can also see the two creepy medusa heads at the base of the columns.
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star-3.5
Venture to imperial monuments rich with history and discover the Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar during this half-day guided tour in Istanbul. Gaze at the Hagia Sophia’s massive columns and dome during a visit to one of the world’s largest basilicas and most popular museums in Turkey. This tour will take you underground to Basilica Cistern which was once the backbone of the Great Palace of Constantinople. Enjoy a trip to the Grand Bazaar where you can barter for souvenirs and feel the pulse of one of the oldest and largest covered markets on the planet.
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star-5
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star-5
Istanbul Layover Tours is mainly specialized on layover tours from Istanbul Airports. Meet and Greet: It is easier to find your driver at the airport now. You will be met and accompanied to the vehicle by a welcome host at a spesific spot / time. Timely & Safe Logistic; Enjoy comfortable round-trip transfer from/to airport with private and spacious van. . Fast Track Entry: Be VIP and save precious time at the museums ticket desks thanks to the accredited tour guides from Ministry of Culture and Tourism Professional and Enthusiastic Guides: Our guides are not only a good historian but also your travel companion. Learn about culture, politics & religion through personal stories and anecdotes. Eat like a local: Taste delicious, reasonable non-touristy local food at the eatiers where the only locals eat. Various food restrictions are welcomed
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star-4
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If you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time, check all of the city’s top attractions off your list on this 7-hour historical Istanbul tour. In an air-conditioned vehicle, you’ll travel between the world-famous Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern, a subterranean sanctuary dating back to the 6th century. See, too, the magnificent Topkapi Palace and learn about Istanbul’s rich culture and heritage from your guide. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included on this small-group tour, limited to 14 people.
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Small-Group Istanbul Old City Sightseeing TourFull-day Tours

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star-4
See the unforgettable landmarks of Istanbul’s old city on a full-day, small-group sightseeing tour with a professional art historian. Enjoy a comfortable seat on a luxury coach as you make your way to Hagia Sophia, descend into a stunning below-ground cistern system and explore a Roman-era hippodrome. Pause for a 3-course lunch before continuing to the Blue Mosque, the Ottoman Topkapi Palace and the bustling stalls of the Grand Bazaar, and get an insider’s perspective on the back stories and secrets of each place.
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  • 9 hours
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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
Should I book Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) tickets in advance?
A:
We recommend booking e-tickets ahead of time to secure your spot since Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) can get crowded. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund. See all 130 Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) tickets and tours on Viator.
Q:
How much does it cost to visit Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) 2020?
A:
Currently, an entrance ticket to Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) costs USD 62.26. Guided Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) tours start around USD 62.26 per person. See all 130 Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi) tickets and tours on Viator.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi)?

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