3.5 star rating: Worth doing 16 Reviews

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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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Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar, ... 
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar

4.5 star rating: Recommended 20 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.)

From USD $38.75
Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, ... 
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand Bazaar

4 star rating: Recommended 62 Reviews

Get a glimpse of Istanbul's fascinating Imperial legacies on this half-day sightseeing tour with an expert local guide. First visit Hagia Sophia, once one of ...  Read more

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

From USD $50.00
The Best of Istanbul Skip the Line Hagia Sophia Basilica Cistern and Blue Mosque, Istanbul, ... 
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The Best of Istanbul Skip the Line Hagia Sophia Basilica Cistern and Blue Mosque

4.5 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

See the best of the historic Sulthanmet area of Istanbul on this intimate small group tour. Traveling with a hand-picked local guide, you’ll save hours ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $60.00
Small-Group Istanbul Tour: Skip-the-Line Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern, Bosphorus Cruise, Blue ... 
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Small-Group Istanbul Tour: Skip-the-Line Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern, Bosphorus Cruise, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 36 Reviews

If you want to pack Istanbul’s highlights into one fascinating day, this full-day tour, including a Bosphorus cruise, obliges. With an expert guide, skip the ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $120.00

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