Also known as the Underground Palace, the Basilica Cistern was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the mid-500s. During the Byzantine era, the cistern was used as a water-storing tank for the Great Palace of Constantinople, and for watering the gardens of the Topkapı Palace during the Ottoman Empire. Being the largest surviving Cistern in Istanbul, the structure consists of 336 Corinthian-carved columns and two of its pillars have the face Medusa. This massive structure is the size of a cathedral — 143m long, 65m in diameter and can hold up to 17.5 million gallons of water. Today, the Basilica Cistern is being used as a Museum, and it has been visited by prominent people like the former US President, Bill Clinton.
Opened daily 09:00 am — 17:30 pm
Admission Fee 20 TL
Free entry for children under 8.
Tel: +90 (212) 512 15 70
Fax: 0 (212) 522 81 66