Plan Your Visit to the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul | Opening Hours, Location, Visitor Tips & More
The Basilica Cistern is an underground water storage system that was designed in the 6th century during the Byzantine rule in Istanbul. It had been commissioned by Emperor Justinian I to supply water to the Great Palace of Constantinople and its surrounding areas.
Basilica Cistern At a Glance
- What are the Basilica Cistern’s opening hours?
You can visit the Basilica Cistern from 9 AM to 7 PM every day of the year.
- Where is the Basilica Cistern located?
The Basilica Cistern is situated on Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih, Turkey.
- How many entrances does the Basilica Cistern have?
The Basilica Cistern has 2 entrances- one near the Hagia Sophia, on Yerebatan Street, and one near the Cistern of Serefiye, near the southwest corner of the cistern.
- How many visitors does the Basilica Cistern get per year?
Around 2.2 million tourists visit the Basilica Cistern annually.
What are the Basilica Cistern’s Opening Hours?
Open: every day of the year
Hours: 9 AM to 7 PM
Duration of Visit: 30 mins to 1 hour
Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to October to enjoy the pleasant autumn temperatures in Istanbul
Where is Basilica Cistern Located?
Address: Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih, Turkey
Description: The Basilica Cistern is in the heart of Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul. It is a bustling area with mosques, buildings, restaurants, and cafes. The Square is known for its rich culture and history. If you want to make the most of your visit, arrive at Sultanahmet Square and plan a day trip to visit its famous attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, and Blue Mosque. This district is also characterized by its narrow, winding streets, lined with vibrant bazaars and Ottoman-style buildings.
Nearest Landmarks: Hagia Sophia (14 m), Blue Mosque (300 m), and Topkapi Palace (3.6 km)
Getting to the Basilica Cistern
By Public Transport
- By Bus: 28, 30D, 46C, 54E, 66, 77A, 92C, 99A, EM1
Nearest Parking: Eminonu-Iskele- Yesilkoy Yonu
- By Train: Marmaray (Atakoy to Pendik) and Marmaray (Halkali to Gebze)
Nearest Parking: Sirkeci and Fatih
- By Tram: T1
Nearest Parking: Fatih
- By Metro: M2
Nearest Parking: Sirkeci
Know Before You Go
- Accessibility: There are elevators and ramps at the entrance of the Basilica Cistern to help visitors with limited mobility navigate the space. You have to bring your own wheelchair or stroller.
- Photography: Yes, you can click pictures inside the Basilica Cistern. However, you must be mindful of your surroundings as the floor is wet and slippery. Try to avoid setting up tripods or other commercial equipment as they may disturb other visitors.
- Basilica Restaurant: Situated right across the Basilica Cistern, this restaurant offers delectable food including kebabs and shisha to their guests. (14 m)
- Omar Restaurant: This establishment near the cistern is known for its Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern, and Turkish cuisine. Their menu is also vegetarian-friendly. (9 m)
- Nars Brasserie: They have a delectable range of steaks, Spanish, and Middle-Eastern dishes. You can also find vegan, halal, and vegetarian food in this restaurant. (9 m)
- Sebil Cafe: If you are looking for a wheelchair-accessible cafe that serves Turkish cuisine, head to the Sebil Cafe near the Basilica Cistern. (3.4 km)
- Adella Seafood Restaurant: This restaurant serves fresh seafood and Mediterranean dishes for its guests. They also have a wine bar. (1.4 km)
- Cafe Lokum: This is a vegetarian-friendly cafe that serves breakfast, brunch, as well after-hours meals. It also has a bar for its guests. (9 m)
Book Basilica Cistern Tickets & Tours
Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Basilica Cistern in Istanbul
We recommend you book your Basilica Cistern tickets online to save time and money. Booking tickets online is also convenient as you can do so with just a click.
Basilica Cistern skip-the-line tickets are around € 24.90. If you are interested in Byzantine architecture and history, you may also choose the Basilica Cistern guided tour for € 29.
The Basilica Cistern is open from 9 AM to 7 PM every day of the year.
The months of March to May and September to October are the best months to visit the Basilica Cistern. The weather is comfortable and pleasant, ideal for strolling around the streets of Istanbul. However, these months also attract the highest number of tourists to the city, so make sure to book your Basilica Cistern tickets in advance.
You can stroll around the long colonnades, look at the Medusa Heads, observe the Weeping Column, and take in the architectural splendor of the Basilica Cistern within around 30 minutes to an hour.
The Basilica Cistern is located in Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih, Turkey.
If you are traveling from Taksim, take the funicular F1 to Kabastas and take the T1 tram to Sultanahmet station. The Basilica Cistern is only a 2-minute walk from Sultanahmet station. You can take any bus between 28, 30D, 46C, 54E, 66, 77A, 92C, 99A, or EM1 and get down at Eminonu-Iskele- Yesilkoy Yonu, 4 minutes away from the cistern. You can also board either the Marmaray (Atakoy to Pendik) or the Marmaray (Halkali to Gebze) and get off at the Sirkeci station, 2 minutes away from the Basilica.
The Basilica Cistern has 2 entrances- one near the Hagia Sophia and one near the southwest corner of the space, near the Cistern of Serefiye.
The Basilica Cistern has slippery surfaces owing to the water accumulated there, hence it is quite difficult to navigate through the area on wheelchairs. However, the entrance has an elevator, from where you can enter the premises. You have to bring your own wheelchair or stroller.
While there is no such dress code to be followed at the Basilica Cistern, you must wear comfortable, closed shoes when visiting the cistern. The floor is wet and slippery, so you need footwear with a good grip.
Yes, prams and strollers are allowed in the Basilica Cistern.
Yes, you can click pictures inside the Basilica Cistern, however, make sure to not use tripods or other commercial equipment that may disturb other visitors.
If you have a large trolley, backpack, or extra belongings that you want to drop off before entering the Basilica Cistern, drop them off at Sultanahmet Square or the Sirkeci station. You will find luggage storage spots in these areas.
No, you cannot avail of strollers and wheelchairs from the Basilica Cistern. You have to bring your own wheelchair when visiting the cistern.
It is best not to carry food and drinks inside the cistern. The floor is wet and slippery. You have to be careful at all times when navigating its interiors.