Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Entry & Audio Guide

1. Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Entry & Audio Guide

Explore the striking Basilica Cistern during your visit to Istanbul. Journey beneath the earth's surface and admire the distinctive architecture while listening to an audio guide that will give you insights into the history of this place. Journey back in time and discover the ancient Byzantine Empire. Make your way down the stairs and discover the Basilica Cistern beneath the streets of Istanbul. Wander through the ancient structure and admire the architecture and ornamentation including Medusa heads from Greek mythology. As you listen to the audio guide, learn more about the Basilica Cistern's fascinating history. Stay inside for as long as you want and take some great photos of one of the top attractions in Istanbul.

Istanbul: Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & Hagia Sophia Tour

2. Istanbul: Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & Hagia Sophia Tour

Meet your guide in the heart of the Old City and enjoy stress-free sightseeing and total flexibility with this guided combination tour of Istanbul. Decide the best time for you to visit by choosing from multiple daily departure times, skip the long lines at the Basilica Cistern, and learn about the fascinating history of the Byzantine heritage, Ottoman empire, Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia. 60-Minute Blue Mosque Tour: Daily at 11:00 A.M. & 1:45 P.M. Journey back in time in the courtyards ot the Blue Mosque. Then, step inside and admire the architecture and the famous blue Iznik tiles. As you explore, learn about Byzantine and Ottoman heritage, Islam, and Istanbul's rich history from your guide. After the tour, benefit of free time and take amazing pictures. 30-Minute Basilica Cistern Tour: Daily at 10:00 A.M., 12:00 P.M., 2:00 P.M., 4:00 P.M. Skip the long ticket lines with your guide and discover the Basilica Cistern beneath the streets of Istanbul. Wander through the ancient cistern and admire the architecture and Medusa heads from Greek mythology. Stay inside as long as you wish after the tour finishes. 60-Minute Old City and Hagia Sophia Tour from Outside: Daily at 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. Learn fascinating facts about 2,000-year-old landmark as you explore with your guide. Have closer look at the Million Stone, the Hippodrome a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire and much more. The tour ends with the history and most important architecture facts about the Hagia Sophia which was for more than 1,000 years the biggest church of christianity who converted into a mosque in 1453. Important Information: Since Januar 2024 the entry inside the Hagia Sophia mosque is not possible anymore but after the tour you have the chance to get inside the visiting area for an extra cost of 25 Euro. The Blue Mosque has no admission charge and no ticket lines, however there is a security check line, which can take up to 30 minutes during the mid season and up to 60 minutes during the high season. But don't worry, during your waiting time, your guide, who has very good information and great client relation skills, will entertain you with great stories, facts and useful information about Istanbul. To enter the Blue Mosque, women must cover their knees, shoulders, and chest. They must also partially cover their hair with a scarf. Men must cover their knees and shoulders. If you do not have a scarf or body cover, you can buy them at the entrance (a scarf is €1 and a body cover is €3)

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Tour and Skip The Line with Guide

3. Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Tour and Skip The Line with Guide

Discover the Basilica Cistern under the streets of Istanbul on a guided tour. Be amazed by the stunning architecture of the cistern during the tour and gaze at the Medusa Heads. Skip-the-line and avoid the long queue, as you follow your guide through history. Meet your guide in front of the exit gate of the Basilica Cistern and enter together. Skip the long lines and enjoy a highlights tour and learn interesting facts about the water cistern with an audio guide. Marvel at the engineering of the cistern while hearing the history with a downloadable audio guide. After your guided tour, stay and explore the building at your own pace. 

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Ticket Audio Guide

4. Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Ticket Audio Guide

Discover the hidden gem of Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern, a masterpiece of Byzantine engineering, with a skip-the-line entry ticket and digital audio guide. Learn how this underground marvel was designed to sustain Constantinople's water needs, showcasing ancient ingenuity. Wander through its vast, shadowy expanse, lit by soft lights that dance off the water's surface, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere. Take a captivating journey into the depths of history with detailed narratives and historical context from your digital guide. Marvel at the 336 marble columns rising from the depths, each telling a story of civilizations past. Among these, admire the enigmatic Medusa heads whose origins are shrouded in mystery and myth. As you step into a world where history, architecture, and legend, soak in the tranquility of this underground wonder, away from the city's hustle. Let the cool, echoing chambers enthrall you, as you explore one of Istanbul's most unforgettable sights. At night, enjoy musical delights with surprise concerts on select evenings from 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM. Amidst ancient wonders, you might stumble upon a concert, blending the allure of history with the beauty of art in a mesmerizing experience.

Istanbul: Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern Tour

5. Istanbul: Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern Tour

Join a guided tour to discover Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. Benefit from priority admission at the museum ticket offices led by your efficient guide. Meet your guide in the Sultanahmet neighborhood at an easy spot and check out Istanbul's greatest monuments on a walking tour. Start with the Basilica Cistern, wander around the “Subterranean Palace” and learn about its history. See the underground pillars and learn about Byzantine architecture. Walk on the wooden walkways over the water until the famous upside-down Medusa heads. Next, visit the Hagia Sophia with pre-reserved tickets and witness the most significant site of the Greek Orthodox religion in Istanbul and learn how it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Explore the stunning monument with elements of a mosque and a church standing next to each other. Admire the basilica’s stunning dome, minarets, and countless mosaics, paintings, and Roman columns. Learn how the impressive İznik tiles were added over time in the Mosque, how the stunning Virgin Mary mosaic was made, and why the Ottomans chose to bury their sultans in the courtyard. Continue to Topkapi Palace to explore the splendor of the Ottoman Empire. Enter the famous palace with priority admission tickets and discover the complex of buildings, pavilions, and courtyards. Explore the outer-terraced gardens and admire the view over the Golden Horn. Choose to visit the Harem with your included tickets at your leisure. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. End your with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

Istanbul: Best of The City Full-Day Tour with Transfers

6. Istanbul: Best of The City Full-Day Tour with Transfers

Istanbul: Best of The City Full-Day Tour with Transfers offers a personalized or shared experience for visitors who want to explore the city's top attractions with a dedicated guide. Learn about the historical development of the city under the Roman Empire and Ottoman Empire on a private tour. Compare the different cultures and religions of these empires while exploring iconic Istanbul sights like Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Travel stress-free with private roundtrip transportation. Enjoy unhurried visits to the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern, and the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Visit the famous Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as Blue Mosque, due to its unique interior decoration of blue royal Iznik tiles. At the Hippodrome, see where the Romans used to organize chariot races and gladiators' fights. Admire its remaining Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, Constantine Column, and German Fountain. Finish your day by learning about Turkish handicrafts at the famous Grand Bazaar and its 4,000 shops (replaced with the Arasta Baazar or the Spice Bazaar on Sundays). With your private guide leading the way, there's no chance of getting lost in the bazaar. This tour is a good start for first-time visitors to Istanbul. You'll gain a good idea of the past, present, and future of Istanbul while visiting some of the city's must-see sights and monuments. You can pause the tour at any point to ask questions. •Visit the famous Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, is a historic mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque is known for its stunning architecture, with its six minarets and beautiful blue tiles adorning the interior, which give it the nickname "Blue Mosque." •Discover Topkapi Palace which is a grand and historically significant palace located in Istanbul. It served as the primary residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. Visit the exhibition of Treasury, cloths and weapons also Holy relics • Experience The Hagia Sophia, a famous historic building located in oldtown Istanbul. It was originally built as the biggest cathedral in the world by Byzantine Empire in the 6th century and later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. •See the Basilica Cistern visited by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Impresive Roman empire structure as featured in Dan Brown's novel, "Inferno" and James Bond "From Russia with Love" •Finalize the day at the famous Grand Bazaar with 4000 shops. • Get the personalized experience of a private tour • Taste the local good food ( meat/vegetarian/dessert) • Discover Turkish handicrafts • Highly Recommended for Outstanding Photo Shoots • Recommeneded Activity to Experience The Full Taste of Istanbul's rich history and Culture in a short amount of time Option 1- Guided Tour- Istanbul : Best of The City Full-Day Tour with Transfers Option 2- Private Tour-Istanbul : Best of The City Full-Day Tour with Transfers

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

7. Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

Visit the Basilica Cistern, built in the 4th century and enlarged in 532 AD, used as water storage during Byzantine times. Listen to your guide as they explain the mystery of Medusa heads from Greek mythology. Explore this cathedral-size cistern, built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in 532 A.D. to supply water to the Great Palace. It stores up to 80,000 cubic meters of water, delivered via 20 kilometers of aqueducts from a reservoir near the Black Sea. Descend the fifty-two stone steps into the entrance of the cistern. The cistern is surrounded by a firebrick wall with a thickness of 4 meters, coated with a waterproofing mortar. Hear how the Basilica Cistern's water comes from the Eğrikapı Water Distribution Center in the Belgrade Forest and travels through the 971-meter-long Valens Aqueduct and the 115-meter-long Mağlova Aqueduct, built by the Emperor Justinian.

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern, Old City and Hagia Sophia Tour

8. Istanbul: Basilica Cistern, Old City and Hagia Sophia Tour

Meet your guide at the Dsign Cafe in front of the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum located on the Hippodrome, right next to Egyptian Obelisk. Check out Istanbul's greatest monuments on a old city tour, continue to the Basilica Cistern, and exlore afterwards the Hagia Sophia from outside. Tour Program: (30 min.) Discover the Old City and acquire knowledge of the Byzantine & Ottoman empire (30 min.) Explore the 1,500-year-old Basilica Cistern, famous for its Medusa heads and many Hollywood Blockbusters (30 min.) Free time for pictures at Basilica Cistern (30 min) Admire the Hagia Sophia from outside the largest Christian church in the world for 1,000 years The tour ends at the entrance of the Visiting Area & Upper Gallery of the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Important Information: The Hagia Sophia Mosque is closed for the visit of tourists. So you will learn from your expert guide the history from outside. After the tour you can go inside the Visiting Area and to the Upper Gallery of the Hagia Sophia and have a look at the famous Mosaics. The cost is 25 Euro.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Basilica Cistern

9. Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Basilica Cistern

Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime? Your expert guides reveal the fascinating stories and hidden symbolism, adding a whole new dimension to your experience. Meet your guide at an easy to spot location in the heart of the old city, Sultanahmet Square. Check out Istanbul's greatest monuments on a old city tour, continue to the Basilica Cistern, and discover afterwards the Topkapi Palace and Harem. The tour ends at the entrance of the Hagia Sophia Mosque Visting Area. Those guest who want to go inside can enter the Upper Gallary open for tourists. The entry cost is 25 Euro.

Istanbul: Acemoglu Historical Turkish Bath w/Private Options

10. Istanbul: Acemoglu Historical Turkish Bath w/Private Options

Immerse yourself in the ancient ambience of Istanbul's Acemoglu Hammam, a 15th-century Turkish bath built by Fatih Sultan Mehmed. Choose between public, semi-private, and private baths, then indulge in clay mask, body scrub, and foam treatments. Treat yourself to an optional massage afterward. Make your own way to the Turkish baths, which are conveniently located in Istanbul's Old City, just a short distance from famous landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Basilica Cistern. Upon arrival at Acemoglu Hammam, take advantage of one of the rare mixed-gender baths in Turkey for couples, families and friends to enjoy together. Step back in time to the days of the Ottoman Empire, where you can feel like royalty in public, semi-private, or private baths. Then, rejuvenate yourself with a historical tradition of bathing combined with a full-body clay mask, foaming, and body scrub (kese). The clay mask will be applied because it has many benefits, especially for the skin, due to its abundance of natural minerals. Once the clay mask has been applied, feel the relief using as the kese scrubs away the toxic substances accumulated in your skin. After the kese treatment, enjoy a traditional bubble wash ritual and relaxing full-body foaming. For the full indulgent package, include a massage after your spa treatments. Sense your body and soul completely relax as you are massaged for 30 minutes before your hammam experience ends.

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What people are saying about Basilica Cistern

Overall rating

(1,688 reviews)

Our day with Naci was truly excellent. Right from the start, he took the time to understand our preferences and crafted a tailored itinerary for us. We were delighted by his wealth of knowledge, not only about Istanbul's rich historical heritage but also its contemporary aspects. He went above and beyond to ensure we had a memorable experience, providing insights that enriched our understanding of both the city's past and present. Naci exceeded our expectations, making our day in Istanbul truly unforgettable.

Our day tour of Istanbul's Old City with our private guide was simply fantastic. Their passion for the city's history was infectious, and their expert knowledge made every moment memorable. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, they curated a perfect itinerary tailored to our interests. Highly recommended for an enriching and personalized Istanbul experience. A big thank you to Private Guide Walking Tour for their exceptional service!

Our guide Mellisa is excellent. She do all her best and even help us to book a lunch that was so good. The tour was so interesting all the way that all of us like it. Highly highly recommend.

It vas very good tour with excellent guide Mert. I recommend this tour.

Highly recommend, felt relaxed and refreshed afterwards