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Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern, Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye
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Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern is a must-see attraction for any traveler in Istanbul. Located in Sultanahmet, the cistern is a remarkable feat of engineering, built in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian I. It served as a water storage facility for the city and was used until the 19th century. Today, you can descend into the cistern and explore the vast underground chambers with its imposing pillars, ornate decorations, and eerie atmosphere. The Basilica Cistern is an incredible reminder of Istanbul’s rich history and an unforgettable experience for any traveler.

History of Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, also known as the Yerebatan Sarnici, is a historic site located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is estimated to have been built in the 6th century AD, during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. This cistern, which is considered to be one of the most impressive monuments of the ancient world, was built to store water for the city of Constantinople. It is made up of 336 marble columns and has a capacity of 100,000 tons of water. The Basilica Cistern is a must-see for anyone visiting Istanbul, as it is a reminder of the rich history and culture of the city. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cistern and learn about its history, architecture and the impressive engineering feats used to build it. The Basilica Cistern is a beautiful and awe-inspiring place that should not be missed when visiting Istanbul.

Activity's Location

Basilica Cistern, Fatih/İstanbul, Türkiye


What is Basilica Cistern?
Basilica Cistern is a vast underground structure located in Istanbul, Turkey. It was constructed in the 6th century CE and served as a water reservoir for the Great Palace of Constantinople.
How big is Basilica Cistern?
The cistern is 140 meters (459 feet) long, 70 meters (230 feet) wide, and 8 meters (25 feet) deep. It has 336 marble columns, each 9 meters (30 feet) high.
What is the purpose of Basilica Cistern?
This vast underground structure served as a water reservoir for the Great Palace of Constantinople. It supplied the palace with water and provided a place to store it, keeping it cool during hot summer months.
How can I visit Basilica Cistern?
Visitors can tour Basilica Cistern by purchasing tickets at the entrance to the cistern. The cistern is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and is located in Istanbul, Turkey.
What is the current state of Basilica Cistern?
Basilica Cistern is currently maintained and open to the public as a tourist attraction. It is also used as a venue for occasional concerts, as well as for filming documentaries and movies.
What other features are part of Basilica Cistern?
Basilica Cistern has two Medusa heads at the bases of two of its columns, which are thought to be a form of protection against floods. There is also a small statue of a headless man believed to have belonged to a Byzantine Emperor.
What is the design of Basilica Cistern?
Basilica Cistern is a complex network of 336 columns, arranged in 12 rows of 28 columns, with two columns in the middle that form a large square. The roof is supported by a series of brick vaults.
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