Tour & Tickets

Basilica Cistern Tickets & Tours

What To See At Basilica Cistern?

When visiting the captivating city of Istanbul, a stop at the Basilica Cistern is almost mandatory for history enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. This ancient cistern, which dates back to the 6th century, holds within its subterranean depths a plethora of fascinating sights that beckon exploration.

As you venture into this historic site, you will find yourself surrounded by a forest of 336 marble columns, each standing 9 meters tall, arranged in 12 rows. This colossal structure, also known as “Yerebatan Sarayı” or the Sunken Palace, offers visitors a glimpse into the impressive architectural prowess of the Byzantine era.

One of the notable attractions here is the Medusa heads, which are used as column bases in one corner of the cistern. Their origin and the reason behind their upside-down and sideway positions remain a mystery, fueling the intrigue and the allure of the place.

Walking amidst these towering columns, with water dripping from the ceiling and the gentle illumination casting eerie reflections on the water surface, transports you to a time long gone, offering a mesmerizing experience that etches itself into your memory.

Immersive Historical Experience

Delving into the depths of the Basilica Cistern offers an immersive historical experience like no other. As one descends into this ancient underground water reservoir, a sudden transition from the bustling streets of Istanbul to a serene and almost otherworldly environment can be felt immediately.

The air becomes cooler, and the sound of dripping water resonates as you walk on the wooden pathways between the towering columns. This place, steeped in history, allows you to literally touch and feel elements from over a thousand years ago.

The guided tours available here furnish you with rich narratives, weaving tales of the past, the grandeur of the Byzantine Empire, and the ingenuity behind the construction of this massive structure which once held 80,000 cubic meters of water. It indeed becomes an educational journey, where every corner has a story to tell, an era to represent, offering a deep connection with the ancient civilization and its remarkable accomplishments.

Architectural Marvel

The Basilica Cistern stands as a testimony to the magnificent architectural marvel that is the Byzantine era’s craftsmanship. Built in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian I, this subterranean structure with its vast array of marble columns arranged in perfect symmetry, showcases the engineering prowess of the time.

Each column, carved intricately, stands as a pillar supporting the grand ceiling that shields an entire world beneath the city’s surface. The precision in the construction and the aesthetics involved in creating such a harmonious layout of the columns bear witness to a deep understanding of architecture and design.

Moreover, the incorporation of recycled materials, like the enigmatic Medusa heads repurposed as column bases, demonstrates a sustainable approach to architecture, a concept far ahead of its time.

Spacious Walkways

The Basilica Cistern, a historical treasure nestled in the heart of Istanbul, welcomes visitors with its wonderfully spacious walkways. These paths, which meander through the cistern’s vast columned space, offer a comfortable and leisurely exploration of this ancient architectural marvel.

As you walk through these pathways, you find yourself traveling back in time, enveloped by a sense of history that each stone column emanates. The space, thoughtfully designed, allows for a serene journey amidst the columns, letting visitors appreciate the grandeur of the structure without feeling cramped or hurried.

Moreover, the well-maintained walkways facilitate a smooth flow of traffic, accommodating tourists from around the world while preserving the serenity that characterizes this historic site. The spacious walkways, thus, not only serve as a conduit to explore the rich history of the Basilica Cistern but also enhance the visitor’s experience, adding to the comfort and enjoyment of their visit.

Photo Opportunities

A visit to the Basilica Cistern offers ample opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture some breathtaking shots. The ethereal atmosphere of the cistern, with its majestic columns and the reflective water surface, creates a perfect backdrop for some mesmerizing photographs.

Highlights for photographers include the mysterious Medusa head columns, where one can capture the intricacies of these ancient relics, and the soft illumination that casts a magical glow on the waters and the columns, offering a chance to take some truly atmospheric shots.

Whether it’s a thoughtful portrait amidst the towering columns or a wide-angle shot capturing the expansive interior of the cistern, the place offers a rich canvas for photographers to work with. With every step, a new frame unfolds, presenting an unending series of opportunities to capture the mystique and the beauty of this ancient wonder, making a visit to the Basilica Cistern a photographer’s paradise.

How Much Do Basilica Cistern Tickets Cost?

To explore the enchanting world of the Basilica Cistern, one needs to procure a ticket, the cost of which varies based on several factors including the age group of the visitor, and the type of ticket one opts for.

As of the last update, the general admission fee for adults is quite reasonable, allowing for a wide audience to experience the wonder of this historical site. There are also concessions available for children and senior citizens, making it a budget-friendly option for families.

Apart from the standard tickets, there are also guided tour options available, which, although priced slightly higher, offer a more enriching experience, delving deeper into the history and the architectural nuances of the cistern.

Are There Any Combined Tickets or Tours Available?

When planning your visit to the historic city of Istanbul, you might wonder if there are combined tickets or tours available to streamline your sightseeing experience. The answer is yes; many tour operators and official platforms offer combined tickets and tours that include multiple historic sites, providing a convenient and often more affordable way to explore Istanbul’s rich history.

These combined options often encompass visits to several notable landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Basilica Cistern, allowing tourists to immerse themselves in a rich and varied historical journey through different eras of Istanbul’s past. By opting for a combined ticket or tour, you can ensure a cohesive and comprehensive sightseeing experience, enriched with guided narratives and convenient arrangements that take the hassle out of organizing individual visits to each location.

VIP Combo Ticket for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern

For those looking to explore the historic wonders of Istanbul with added comfort and convenience, the VIP Combo Ticket for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Basilica Cistern comes as a perfect choice. This ticket provides exclusive access to three of the city’s most iconic landmarks, offering an unparalleled glimpse into the rich history and stunning architecture that define Istanbul.

With the VIP Combo Ticket, visitors can ensure a seamless journey through the centuries, traversing from the magnificent domes of Hagia Sophia to the grandeur of Topkapi Palace, and finally to the subterranean wonders of the Basilica Cistern. Each of these locations harbors a wealth of history and breathtaking architecture, promising an enriching experience with every step.

Moreover, the VIP Combo Ticket often includes privileges such as skip-the-line access, allowing you to bypass the long queues and dive straight into the heart of Istanbul’s historic wonders, saving time and enhancing the quality of your visit.

Why Choose the VIP Combo Ticket?

Choosing the VIP Combo Ticket for your Istanbul exploration comes with a plethora of benefits that enhance your sightseeing experience manifold. Firstly, it allows for a hassle-free visit, letting you skip the long ticket lines at each location, thereby saving precious time during your trip.

Secondly, the VIP Combo Ticket offers a cost-effective solution to explore the rich heritage of Istanbul. By bundling the entry fees to these iconic landmarks into a single ticket, you often save money compared to purchasing individual tickets.

Lastly, this special ticket often comes with the option of guided tours, providing in-depth insights into the history and architectural brilliance of each site, enriching your experience and allowing you to fully appreciate the grandeur and significance of these historical marvels.

Any Discount Available?

When planning a trip to the Basilica Cistern, it’s natural to inquire if there are any discounts available. For historic sites such as the Basilica Cistern, discounts are often provided to various groups. Senior citizens, students, and children typically receive reduced rates. Additionally, group bookings or family packages might offer savings compared to individual tickets.

Furthermore, if you’re considering visiting multiple historic sites in Istanbul, combined tickets, like the VIP Combo Ticket mentioned earlier, can offer substantial savings compared to buying separate entrance fees. Tourist cards or city passes available in many cities also offer bundled discounts for multiple attractions.

Always ensure you check the official website or trusted ticket platforms for current promotions or seasonal discounts before your visit.

How To Get There?

Reaching the Basilica Cistern is straightforward due to its central location in Istanbul. Situated in the Sultanahmet district, it is easily accessible by various means:

Public Transport: Trams running on the T1 line have a stop named Sultanahmet, which is just a short walk away from the Basilica Cistern.

Taxi: You can hire a taxi from anywhere in Istanbul. Just mention “Yerebatan Sarayı” or Basilica Cistern to the driver.

Walking: If you’re staying around the Sultanahmet or nearby areas, the Basilica Cistern is within walking distance, allowing you to enjoy the local sights as you stroll.

Tour Buses: Many organized tours include the Basilica Cistern in their itinerary, offering a convenient pick-up and drop-off service.

Best Time To Visit The Basilica Cistern

Choosing the right time to visit the Basilica Cistern can significantly enhance your experience. The cistern is popular, so it can get crowded during peak times.

Early Mornings: Visiting right after opening can help you avoid large groups and offers a quieter experience.

Late Afternoons: Another suitable time is late in the afternoon, closer to closing time. By then, most of the day’s crowds might have moved on.

Off-Peak Seasons: If your travel dates are flexible, consider visiting Istanbul during the shoulder season, which is typically spring (April to mid-June) or early autumn (September to October). This period offers pleasant weather and fewer tourists.

Weekdays: Weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends. This allows for a more leisurely exploration of the site.

Where is the Basilica Cistern?

The Basilica Cistern, also known as “Yerebatan Sarayı” or “Sunken Palace” in Turkish, is located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is situated in the historic district of Sultanahmet, close to other prominent landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. This ancient cistern was constructed during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century and has since then become one of the city’s most iconic underground attractions.

What is in the Basilica Cistern?

The Basilica Cistern is an enormous underground water reservoir. This remarkable structure consists of 336 marble columns, arranged in 12 rows of 28 each. Each column stands approximately 9 meters tall, lending to the vast and atmospheric space beneath the city streets. The cistern once held up to 80,000 cubic meters of water, which was transported from the Belgrade Forest, located over 19 kilometers away, through aqueducts.

Among its various architectural and artistic highlights, two Medusa head column bases are especially notable. These mysteriously positioned Medusa heads – one turned sideways, the other upside down – have intrigued visitors and historians for centuries, spawning a multitude of theories about their origins and purpose.

Is Basilica Cistern worth it?

Absolutely. The Basilica Cistern is more than just an ancient storage facility for water; it’s a testament to the architectural prowess and vision of the Byzantine Empire. The sheer scale and beauty of this underground palace are breathtaking. The dim lighting, the reflection of the columns on the shallow waters, and the occasional drip of water from the ceiling create an eerie, otherworldly atmosphere. It’s a unique experience that offers a respite from the bustling streets of Istanbul and transports visitors to a different time. For those interested in history, architecture, or simply seeking a one-of-a-kind experience, the Basilica Cistern is undoubtedly worth a visit.

How to get tickets to Basilica Cistern?

To obtain tickets for the Basilica Cistern, visitors have several options. One can directly purchase tickets at the entrance of the site. Alternatively, tickets can be acquired online through official tourism platforms or reputable third-party ticket vendors. Buying tickets online can sometimes provide a faster entry, especially during peak tourist seasons when lines can get quite long.

Do you need tickets in advance to Basilica Cistern?

While it’s not mandatory to buy tickets in advance for the Basilica Cistern, it is highly recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons or holidays. Purchasing tickets in advance can save visitors time and ensure a smoother entrance experience. Moreover, in situations where visitor numbers might be restricted due to events or safety measures, having a pre-booked ticket can guarantee entry.

Are Basilica Cistern guided tours worth it?

Opting for a guided tour of the Basilica Cistern can enhance the overall experience for visitors. Guides typically provide historical context, architectural insights, and fascinating anecdotes that might not be readily available through standard informational placards or self-guided materials. For those keen on a deeper understanding of the cistern’s significance, legends, and the Byzantine era’s marvels, a guided tour can be incredibly valuable. However, those who prefer exploring at their own pace or have already researched the site might find a self-guided visit more to their liking.

Basilica Cistern Tickets & Tours: Skip the Line Ticket + 5% discount

Visit the biggest remaining Byzantine cistern in Istanbul and lose yourself in its mysterious environment. The majestic subterranean chamber of the Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan in Turkish) is a must-see for every tourist in Istanbul. Experience a remarkable fusion of history, art, and architecture as you stroll among the soaring marble columns and listen to the drip-drop of water reverberating in the vast room.

Here are the top five reasons you should go see the Basilica Cistern.

When visiting Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern should be at the top of your list of must-see historical sights. This is a rare opportunity to learn about the Byzantine history of the city and the advanced engineering that made possible its prosperous culture.

The Basilica Cistern, a wonder of ancient engineering and architectural design, is characterized by its forest of 336 exquisitely preserved columns. It exemplifies the Byzantine architects’ extraordinary creativity and taste.

The two intriguing columns with the heads of Medusa lend a touch of myth and mystery to your trip. Both the upside-down and sideways orientations add to the mystery and appeal of the Basilica Cistern.

The Basilica Cistern has an extraordinary atmosphere. The chilly, damp air, the sound of water trickling down the columns, and the dim illumination all combine to provide an ambience that can’t be found anywhere else.

When it comes to photography, the Cistern is one of the best locations in Istanbul. Fantastic picture chances abound amid the antique columns thanks to the interplay of light, shadow, and water.

What To See At Basilica Cistern?

Tickets and Tours of the Basilica Cistern: No Waiting in Line Ticket + 5% Off

The Basilica Cistern Museum is an intriguing blend of antiquity, mystery, and architectural mastery. Here are a few things to look forward to and notable features of your trip:

Immersive Historical Experience

The Byzantine Emperor Justinian I commissioned the construction of the Basilica Cistern in the sixth century. Discovering the cistern is like digging into the very foundations of Istanbul’s long and storied past. The dim lighting and gloomy ambience make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Architectural Marvel

The cistern is a subterranean chamber with a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters (2,800,000 cu ft) of water, measuring around 143 meters (470 feet) by 65 meters (210 feet) in size. The 336 marble columns that hold up the ceiling are each 9 meters (30 feet) tall and are set at intervals of 4.9 meters (16 feet). Different types of capitals decorate these columns, which may indicate that they were repurposed from older structures during the Byzantine period.

Medusa Pillar Bases

The cistern is most recognizable for the two Medusa heads that act as column bases. The mystery surrounding the heads’ history and function only serves to heighten the allure of your visit. Both the upside-down and sideways views of the Gorgon’s terrifying eyes are terrifying in their own right.

Spacious Walkways

An eerie light emanates from the water and illuminates the columns as one walks through the paths of the Basilica Cistern. These pathways allow you to take in the cistern’s impressive architecture from all around. There’s a little platform at the end of the boardwalk, where you can gaze down into the water and view fish swimming about.

Photo Opportunities

One of the most picturesque places in Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern stands out for its historical and architectural appeal. You will leave with a camera full of interesting images, whether you focus on the rows of lit columns, the reflected waters, or the mysterious Medusa heads.

Keep in mind that the Basilica Cistern is much more than a photo op. It’s an adventure in itself, with elements of history, mystery, and architecture thrown in for good measure. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning scenery of the Basilica Cistern.

How Much Do Basilica Cistern Tickets Cost?

Prices to see the Basilica Cistern range from around €20 for adults to €10 for children and students. If you buy your tickets in advance online, you may skip the wait and have a more streamlined experience.

What Are The Best Basilica Cistern Tickets Or Tours?

Taking a guided tour is the best way to learn about this landmark. In general, tours provide:

Knowledgeable explanations of the Basilica Cistern’s past.

The history of its creation and use is fascinating.

Faster admission without waiting in line.

Avoid the Queue

Why Go With Basilica Cistern Skip the Line Tickets and Tours?

The Basilica Cistern is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Istanbul, drawing large crowds at all times of the year. You may skip the long lines and get fast-track entry to the museum by purchasing one of the suggested Skip the Lines Entry tickets or excursions.

Local guides who are well-versed in Istanbul’s history and culture lead the trips we recommend. Insightful details about the Basilica Cistern’s construction and importance in Byzantine and Ottoman Istanbul will be revealed as they lead you on a fascinating tour through the building’s extensive history.

We think you’ll find the tickets and excursions we suggest via Skip the Lines to be really convenient. You are free to choose a time and day that works best with your schedule. The tours are provided in many languages so that you may select the one that is most comfortable for you. The Basilica Cistern offers an audio tour for a more in-depth experience.

You can avoid waiting in lines and save money on Basilica Cistern tickets by purchasing them in advance online. You won’t have to deal with any of the trouble of standing in line or paying any additional fees upon entry. All of the expenses associated with the trips we propose are included in the total price. There are additional opportunities to save money thanks to discounts for students, pensioners, and Turkish nationals.

Check Out & Book Your Basilica Cistern Tickets & Tours below

Should I Book In Advance?

Getting tickets or excursions for the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul in advance is strongly suggested. Booking in advance not only ensures your entrance, but also saves you precious minutes once you arrive.

Are Guided Tours Worth It?

Absolutely! Learn more about the intricate history and design of this Byzantine masterpiece on a guided tour. Listening to the fascinating tales told by our expert guides will take you back in time for a really remarkable experience.

Are There Any Combined Tickets or Tours Available?

Yes, the Basilica Cistern may be seen as part of a multi-attraction ticket that also includes Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. These bundles are a great time- and money-saver.

VIP Combo Ticket for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern

We strongly advise using the Istanbul Welcome Card. The VIP Combo Ticket for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Basilica Cistern is the best way to see Istanbul’s most famous sights. Located within easy walking distance of one another on the Historical Peninsula, the three attractions included in this special ticket provide fast-track entry and skip-the-line privileges.

We highly suggest this for first-time tourists and those on a tighter budget. Topkapi Palace is so close to Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern that most travelers visit all three sites on the same day. If you’re looking to save money and time, buying a combo ticket is the way to go. Choose a combination ticket that suits your needs.

Why Choose the VIP Combo Ticket?

By purchasing a VIP Combo Ticket, you may save time and money while seeing three of Istanbul’s most visited landmarks. This ticket grants you fast-track entry to all three attractions, so you won’t have to waste time waiting in line.

Tours typically last between 30 minutes and 45 minutes, include all admission costs, and a knowledgeable guide who speaks English. Highlight Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Audio App available in 9 languages for IOS and Android (English, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish); tours offered at each museum.

Any Discount Available?

Customers that use our website to buy will get a further 5% off. Make sure the lower price is shown on the official website after clicking the red button below.

Tickets to the Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

Tickets and Tours of the Basilica Cistern: No Waiting in Line Ticket + 5% Off

Where Should I Go?

Tickets and Tours of the Basilica Cistern: No Waiting in Line Ticket + 5% Off

The Basilica Cistern is well situated in Sultanahmet, close to other famous sites like as the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The closest tram station is Sultanahmet, making it easy to get there.

Best Time To Visit The Basilica Cistern

There are fewer visitors to the Basilica Cistern in the wee hours of the morning and late in the day. If you can, try to time your visit outside of the busy times.

Guide to the Basilica Cistern Give your visit a minimum of one hour.  Dress warmly since the cistern is moist and has a low temperature.  Make sure your camera is all set to take pictures of the beautiful Basilica Cistern. Take a tour with a knowledgeable guide to really appreciate your time there. mmerse yourself in the magic of Istanbul’s subterranean at the Basilica Cistern. Get your tickets to the Basilica Cistern right now!

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