Basilica Cistern
Historic Site
336 columns Attraction Attractions byzantine cistern constantinople emperor constantine emperor justinian establishment Historic Site medusa column bases medusa head museum point_of_interest roman cisterns Sights & Landmarks
The 6th-century Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayı), located in the heart of Istanbul’s historic peninsula, was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I to meet the water needs of the Great Palace of Constantinople. Covering a vast 9,800 square meters and able to hold 80,000 cubic meters of water, it’s the largest cistern in the city, and takes its name from the basilica that once stood here. Today you can visit the cool and eerie underground reservoir opposite the Hagia Sophia and marvel at symmetry of the 336 Doric and Corinthian columns. Be sure to see the two Medusa heads at the back of the cistern too, thought to act as protection for this impressive subterranean structure.
TripAdvisor Travellers Rating
Based on 23424 Travellers Review
Nov 5, 2016
We were told this wasn't really worth a visit but so glad we went. Such an incredible feat of engineering centuries ago. The lighting inside give a surreal feeling of the cistern and it was nice to... read more>>
Nov 5, 2016
It is very interesting reservoir of Istanbul - the mysterious and enigmatic. There are 336 columns with interesting capitals. There is the famous Gorgon Medusa. There is a well of desire, which... read more>>
Nov 4, 2016
After standing in line for almost a half hour we were able to walk down some precarious steps and into an enormous space that served as a cistern in Roman times. You walk past a photo stand where... read more>>
Nov 4, 2016
Marie S
Of all the ancient Roman sites we've seen, we've never come across anything like this! There was no queue at all when we got here on a November morning. The ticket price was 20TL and the audio guide... read more>>
Nov 4, 2016
Ray B
Was not aware of the Cistern. Found it fascinating, but a bit pricy considering what there is to see. Very dark and damp too. But would recommend it because of its uniqueness. read more>>
Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul
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House of Medusa
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