Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

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General Information

The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred cisterns situated beneath Istanbul, Turkey. The cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Justinian I. The cistern was built to provide water to many important neighbouring buildings. The cistern is around 138 metres by 65 metres and is capable of holding 80,000 cubic metres of water. There are 336 marble columns in the cistern that support the ceiling, many of which have interesting architectural styling. The cistern is surrounded by a firebrick wall that is 4 metres thick. In 1985 the cistern was cleaned and renovated and opened for people to marvel in its architecture.

Getting there

The T1 tram stops close to the cistern at the ‘Sultanahmet’ stop. The T2B bus also stops close by. Taking a taxi is the other option if public transport is not viable.

Opening Times and Admission

The cistern is open to visitors daily, 9.30am-6pm. Admission to the cistern is set at 20TL for adults and it is free for children.

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  • Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
  • Museum
  • +90 212 522 12 59

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