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Basilica Cistern

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Private tour of the Basilica Cistern

Visit the Basilica Cistern’s underground cavern. Descending beneath the streets, you’ll be met with the sight of hundreds of columns rising from the waters, with towering, arched brick ceilings overhead.

Private tour of the Basilica Cistern, Turkey

The largest surviving cistern in Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is an eerily beautiful underground cavern. Descending beneath the streets, visitors are met with the awesome sight of hundreds of columns rising from the waters, with towering, arched brick ceilings overhead. 

Built in 532 AD, the cistern was able to store up to 80,000 cu metres of water, which was delivered via a 12 mile (20 km) system of aqueducts from a reservoir near the Black Sea.

Today it is not in use but visitors can explore the vast space on a series of raised wooden platforms.

Speak to someone
who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Clair

Start planning your tailor-made trip by calling one of our Turkey specialists on 01993 838 460

Other experiences in Istanbul

These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.