Basilica Cistern

There are hundreds of cisterns beneath the ground of Istanbul. This is the greatest cistern of Istanbul. Basilica cistern located to the west of Hagia Sophia. This cistern is a fine relic of Ancient architectures.

Basilica cistern built between 527 and 565. Seven thousand slaves worked for the construction of Basilica cistern. The construction of cistern continued for 38 years. There are 336 columns. These columns support the dome. The height of each column is 9 m. The distance between columns is 4.80 m. Some columns adorned. There are two Medusa statues beneath columns which has famous fairy tales. Medusa statues made in 3rd century. These statues and columns transported to cistern from different regios of Roman Empire. The size of cistern is huge, one side is 137m and the other side is 65m. Size of the area is 9800 m2. The cistern could store 80 thousand of cubic meter water.

The supply of water is Belgrade Forest which is 19 km away from the cistern. The water was streaming via aqueducts to cistern. The floor of Cistern is brick and  bottom plastered with a thick layer of Khorasan mortar so bottom of cistern is waterproof.

Do you need fresh air at  the middle of Istanbul ?

You will listen to music and see fish while walking inside the cistern. The level of water is less than a meter. You will be inspired by the perfect view of Basilica cistern. You will feel  moisture of air more while you step in cistern. The silence is perfect, you will not hear anything except sound of drops. You will admire the architecture of cistern while your visiting.

This cistern was a water store preciously both for palace and public. There were holes bottom of houses and people were taking up water from holes and they were fishing through holes. Ottoman palace’s gardens were getting water from this cistern. Restorations are done many times by Ottoman Empire. There are cultural events frequently. So many movies and tv-series casted in the cistern.

Visiting hours:

Winter: 09:00 – 17:30

Summer: 09:00 – 18:30

Museum Card is not valid. You will pay 3$ as an entrance fee.

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