Basilica Cistern (Guided Tour)
#7 in Istanbul
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!
An amazing guided tour is included with the Istanbul Tourist Pass.
Avoid paying the €8.5 tour fee to the Basilica Cistern with Istanbul Tourist Pass.
Hours & schedule
- Monday: NO TOURS
- Tuesday: 12:00 and 15:30
- Wednesday thru Sunday: 12:00
The approximate duration is 45 minutesView Timetable
How to get there?
The tour starts from the stop of the Big Bus in Sultanahmet.
The Sultanahmet Square can be reached via the T1 Tram Line.
The guided tours are performed in English.
The tour starts at the stop of the Big Bus in Sultanahmet. Click on Get Directions above to find the location.
The tour doesn't require a reservation in advance.
Istanbul Tourist Pass holders do not pay admission at the Basilica Cistern.
Please note that this attraction cannot be accessed directly by presenting the digital Pass at the museum. You need to enter with the tour guide.
Children younger than 12 years will be asked to present their valid passport at the entrance of the museums in order to validate their age.
The museum is closed for visits for half-day on the first day of Ramadan (21st of August, 2018) and Sacrifice Festivals.
People Basilica Cistern (Guided Tour)
"More can be done to make this place famous. It would be good to have little write ups in a few languages with lamps for people to read how the system used to work, where did the water came from, etc.
The lightings were good enough and it was quite an experience. Medusa was the highlight of this visit! "
"Extraordinary feat of engineering. Very close to Hagia Sofia and interesting that was built around the same time. Make sure you go the the very far end to see the Medusa stones at the base of 2 pillars. Demonstrates how the whole building was built with stone “pillaged” or perhaps reallocated by Justinian and which were deployed according to size and utility rather than artistic merit ( given that the Medusa stones were at the bottom of the cistern it was never expected they would be seen again).
20TL entry. Cash only. Takes about 30 mins.
"All water was removed and most of the place is covered by decorated walls due to ongoing maintenance works. Anyway ot is worth visiting it. Some little water was left to allow tourist get the mirrored pictures. I enjoyed it. ?>"