3.5 star rating: Worth doing 17 Reviews

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  • Address: Yerebatan Caddesi 13, Istanbul 34400, Turkey
  • Hours: 9 am- 8 pm
  • Admission: 10 TL

Istanbul ATTRACTIONS See all

Basilica Cistern Tours

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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Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

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

4 star rating: Recommended 67 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
Small-Group Istanbul Old City Sightseeing Tour, Istanbul, Half-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Small-Group Istanbul Old City Sightseeing Tour

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

Immerse in Istanbul's UNESCO-listed Old City and visit the highlights of the ancient city of Constantinople on this 9-hour, small-group sightseeing tour led ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $82.70
Best of Istanbul Tour, Istanbul, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Best of Istanbul Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

Experience the scope of Istanbul with this full-day, small-group tour. Led by a local guide, explore the main attractions of the city, including Pierre Loti ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $144.14
Private Half-day Tour: Imperial Istanbul - Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Grand Bazaar, ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

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

4.5 star rating: Recommended 22 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
Dan Brown 'Inferno' Tour of Istanbul, Istanbul, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Dan Brown 'Inferno' Tour of Istanbul

Loved 'Inferno'? Follow in the footsteps of Dan Brown's hero Robert Langdon in this half-day walking tour of Istanbul's Old City. See the Hippodrome, the ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: Flexible

From USD $112.24
Top Sites Of Istanbul: Half Day Small-Group tour, Istanbul, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Top Sites Of Istanbul: Half Day Small-Group tour

The best choice for any first timer, Top sites of Old Istanbul, is a half-day, small group tour. Discover what has made Istanbul such a majestic and ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $76.80
Istanbul Old City Private Walking Tour, Istanbul, City Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Istanbul Old City Private Walking Tour

Pressed for time? Hit the key attractions of Istanbul's Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in just seven hours on this walking tour with private guide. ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $99.24
Istanbul Old City Private Tour - Sultanahmet Tour, Istanbul, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Istanbul Old City Private Tour - Sultanahmet Tour

Have an ideal tour to enhance the experience of your journey, including the most famous attractions located in Sultanahmet area, such as Blue Mosque, Hagia ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $120.51
Private Full-Day Tour of Byzantine Empire Sites in Istanbul, Istanbul, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Private Full-Day Tour of Byzantine Empire Sites in Istanbul

Discover the Byzantine history of Istanbul, including the Hagia Sophia, the Chora Museum, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. From the 4th to the 15th century, ...  Read more

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $224.48
Small-Group Full-Day Istanbul City Tour, Istanbul, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Small-Group Full-Day Istanbul City Tour

Your visits will be to the following sights with an experienced and licensed professional guide. Pick up at around 08:30 from either your Istanbul hotel or the ...  Read more

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

From USD $165.41

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