Basilica Cistern ( Yerebatan Sarnici )

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Yerebatan Caddesi 13, Istanbul, Turkey
0212 449 4287

Basilica Cistern ( Yerebatan Sarnici ) Istanbul Reviews

spocklogic spocklog…
321 reviews
Subterranean sight of eerie engineering Feb 12, 2011
The plaque outside the Basilica Cistern sight is such a good description I can hardly do better, so give that description below. I did edit it a bit here and there:

"Constructed in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian, the most prosperous period of the East Roman Empire, the cistern Basilica is 70m wide and 140m in length. The dome, covering an area of 9800 square meters is supported by 336 marble columns arranged in 12 rows each consisting of 28 columns placed at a distance of ~5m from one another. The capitals of these 9m high columns are a blend of the ionic and Corinthian styles with a few exceptions which are in the Doric style and not ornamented. The cistern is surrounded by a 4m thick wall of brick and the mortar used in construction is very special and water-proof. The water reserved in the cistern was transported from the Belgrad forest which is 19km from the city. In 1985, the Metropolitan municipality of Istanbul undertook the restoration of the cistern. On the 9th of September 1987, it was opened for visitors as a vitalized example of universal cultural heritage."

It's sort of difficult to find, but located on Yerebatan Cadessi between Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. You have to descend down some steps into a dank/musty basement sort of space. It's rather dark down there and a bit spooky perhaps too, but a very interesting place to visit. Some interesting things to see, and don't miss the Medusa heads. The origin of the Medusa heads is unknown, but it's thought the heads were brought to the cistern after being removed from a building of the late Roman period.
Basilica Cistern Plaque
Basilica Cistern down below (kinda…
Basilica Cistern down below (used …
There be fishes here
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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spocklogic says:
When they go underground to spy on that room and Bond spots a nice pair of legs. Remember that scene and was down here, eh? Interesting to know.
Posted on: Jan 09, 2017
Zagnut66 says:
There was a scene filmed down here in the old James Bond movie From Russia with Love.
Posted on: Jan 08, 2017
spocklogic says:
Yes, with limited time can't waste any standing in line. No lines when I went, but it was winter time too.
Posted on: Jan 08, 2017
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Marjan-k Marjan-k
24 reviews
AMAZING Oct 18, 2011
An amazing, peaceful place to visit in Istanbul, one of thee magnificent historical structures which really worthe of seeing.

The Basilica Cistern is thee largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneathe thee city of Istanbul. The cistern, located 150 m southewest of thee Hagia Sophia on thee historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in thee 6the century during thee reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian.

Make sure you have cameras theat take good pics in dark and a tripod would be great too.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Hoyalawyaed Hoyalawy…
3 reviews
Best tourist spot in Istanbul! Jul 02, 2011
If you only have time to see a few of the sights in Istanbul you must see the Basilica Cistern! There are two Medusa heads in the back of this dark, eerie, and column-filled place. There's also water in spots - very recommended!!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Dr_Seuss Dr_Seuss
216 reviews
Basilica Cistern ( Yerebatan Sarnici ) Dec 06, 2010
Fairly inconspicuous on the outside, the enterance gives no indication of what lies beneath, an ancient underground water storage facility.

Built in 532 AD, it brought fresh water into Istanbul from 19km away. A dark underground cavern, measuring 140m x 70m, it has 12 rows of 28 9m high columns running the lenth of it, and at the end two odd columns with Medusa heads.

It is enclosed with 4m thick firebrick walls, and the columns are all individually lit.The atmospheric music adds to the experience.

For all the places I've been I'd never come across anything like this before. Most folk visiting Istanbul will head for the Blue Mosque, and this is just across the road from it.

Cost 10TL to get in, but worth 30mins or so to have a look about,
Basilica Cistern Enterance
Sign on The Side Of The Building
Looking Into The Cistern From The …
Columns
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Dr_Seuss says:
It was a great place Bernard, especially with the music playing and it is so close to the Blue Mosque. Second time I went,with my mate, a party of school children arrived as we were leaving, what a racket they made in there :O :D
Posted on: Mar 07, 2011
bernard69 says:
I was very impressed by this building,a must go in Istambul!
Posted on: Mar 07, 2011
hlek hlek
17 reviews
Hidden Attraction Jun 04, 2010
The Basilica Cistern is definitely one of the hidden gems in Istanbul. I almost passed this out during my trip as the entrance to the place is very small and didn't convince me enough if compared to the Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia. Plus, when I first saw it listed in my map, I was wondering what the heck is this place?

Then as I walked along the streets, I found this very long queue & out of curiosity, I went over to see what's the commotion about. There it was the Basilica. You need to go underground hence the entrance is small. Since it's only TL 10, I decided to join in the crowd.

After going down the stairs, I saw this dark, huge place (looks a bit like sewage) with dozens of pillars. Extremely gorgeous. I stood there completely amazed with the countless columns and appreciated each and everyone of those. However, it's extremely dark down there so make sure your camera has a powerful night mode to capture a good picture.

Great stuff, another must see sight in Istanbul!
The Columns in the Basilica Cistern
The Columns in the Basilica Cistern
The Columns in the Basilica Cistern
The Columns in the Basilica Cistern
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photo by: Memo