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The Basilica Cistern

icon-location-red Popular attraction in Istanbul

5.00/5 - (3 Votes)

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 10:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

TRY 350

Find it on google maps

5.00/5 - (3 Votes)
expert
Baris
Local tour guide
"To fully immerse yourself in the mystical atmosphere of the Basilica Cistern, visit during the quieter hours early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the crowds are thinner, allowing you to appreciate the captivating beauty in peace. Look out for the Medusa heads at the base of two columns; one is placed upside down and the other is oriented sideways, showcasing the imaginative craftsmanship that adds an intriguing touch to this underground marvel."

What is the Basilica Cistern?

The Underground Cistern in Istanbul, also known as the Basilica Cistern, is an ancient underground water reservoir located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is one of the largest surviving cisterns in the city and offers a unique and mysterious attraction for visitors to explore.

History of the Underground Cistern in Istanbul

The history of the Underground Cistern in Istanbul dates back to the 6th century during the Byzantine Empire. It was built by Emperor Justinian I to provide water for the Great Palace and nearby buildings. The Basilica Cistern was constructed using Roman and Byzantine architectural techniques and can hold up to 80,000 cubic meters of water.

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Why is the Basilica Cistern Important?

The Underground Cistern in Istanbul is important for several reasons. Firstly, it showcases the impressive engineering skills of ancient civilizations and provides a glimpse into the past. 

Secondly, it is a significant historical site that reflects the rich cultural heritage of Istanbul. Lastly, the Basilica Cistern has become a popular tourist attraction, contributing to the local economy and promoting tourism in the city.

Things to Do & See at the Underground Cistern in Istanbul

There are several fascinating attractions to explore at Underground Cistern Istanbul:

  • The Medusa Heads: One of the most intriguing features of the cistern is the two large Medusa heads, which are located at the base of two columns. The origin of these sculptures remains a mystery and adds to the enigmatic atmosphere of the cistern.

  • The Columns: The Basilica cistern is supported by a total of 336 columns, each standing at approximately 9 meters tall. Visitors can walk along the raised platforms and admire the grandeur of these ancient architectural marvels.

  • Atmospheric Lighting: The cistern is illuminated with atmospheric lighting, creating a mystical atmosphere. The reflections of the columns and water create a mesmerizing visual experience.

  • Interactive Exhibits: Throughout the Istanbul Underground Cistern, visitors can find interactive exhibits that provide historical information about the construction, purpose, and restoration of the cistern.

Aside from the main attractions, Underground Cistern Istanbul also offers a serene and calm environment, making it an ideal place for a peaceful stroll or a moment of tranquility amidst the bustling city.

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With its historical significance, architectural beauty, and intriguing ambiance, the Basilica Cistern offers a captivating experience for visitors. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply looking for a unique attraction to explore, this underground marvel is a must-visit destination in Istanbul.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Basilica Cistern?

The Basilica Cistern is an ancient underground water reservoir located in Istanbul, Turkey.

How old is the Basilica Cistern?

The Basilica Cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian I, around 532-542 AD.

What is the purpose of the Basilica Cistern?

The Basilica Cistern was built to provide water storage for the Great Palace of Constantinople and nearby buildings.

What are some notable features of the Basilica Cistern?

The Basilica Cistern is known for its impressive size, with a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters of water. It has 336 columns, including two Medusa heads used as column bases.

Can visitors explore the Basilica Cistern?

Yes, the Basilica Cistern is open to the public as a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can walk along the wooden platforms and admire the atmospheric lighting and ancient architecture.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 10:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

TRY 350

Find it on google maps