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Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi)
Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi)

Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi)

Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, Fatih, Istanbul, 34110

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.

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Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar
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$80.00 per adult
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We have a wonderful private tour of...
We have a wonderful private tour of Istanbul with Ilker. We visited the stunning Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Bazaar. Ilker was great - knowledgable and professional as well as personalising our tour to suit our interests. Highly recommend. We will be back!!
Naomi B, Nov 2017

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.

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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.

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Trip ideas

Top Markets in Istanbul

Top Markets in Istanbul


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.

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Where You’ve Seen Basilica Cistern

The basilica has been mentioned or featured in several books and movies, most famouslyFrom Russia with Love, one of Sean Connery’s James Bond films from 1963. It’s also a setting in Dan Brown’sInferno, the sequel to his previous worksThe Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

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