Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

From $11.77 per person

On this 30-minute tour, visit the 4th-century Basilica Cistern and discover the mystery of Medusa heads from Greek mythology.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 30 minutes
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Skip the ticket line
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Live tour guide
English

Experience

Highlights
  • Visit the Basilica Cistern with your experienced guide
  • Listen to the story of Medusa Heads
  • Recognize a scene in the James Bond movie From Russia with Love
Full description
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.
Includes
  • Entry ticket to Basilica Cistern
  • Professional English-speaking guide
  • Hotel pick-up
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
Traveler requirements
  • You are required to bring and wear a mask
  • You will receive a mandatory temperature check

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Participants

Date

Prepare for the activity

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    Meeting point

    BigBus Sultanahmet stop in front of Hagia Sophia

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    Important information

    Know before you go

    • Please note: this attraction cannot be visited without the guide
    • All children will be asked to present their valid passport at the entrance of the museums in order to validate their age
    Customer reviews

    Overall rating

    4.3 / 5

    based on 492 reviews

    Review summary

    • Guide
      4.3/5
    • Value for money
      4.2/5
    • Service
      4.5/5
    • Organization
      4.4/5
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    Had a great time exploring the cistern with Adam (Edem). He was very knowledgable and took us around all of the main parts of the underground area including the slaves’ tears column and the Medusa heads. He also took photos for us. This is an very easy 30 minute tour and a guide is advisable as there is limited info explaining the site’s significance.

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    August 6, 2020

    The tour guide was very friendly and had a good understanding of the history of the Basilica Cistern and engaged with everyone on the tour. Withe some tours, the tour guide can often just focus on the person/people nearest to them, however, with our guide zi think everyone felt included. Loved the history of the site and one reason I wanted to see it is that it has featured in a number of movies and I am a bit of a buff regarding movie locations.

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    March 10, 2020

    Tour guide was really good and knowledgable. Tour only lasted 20 minutes and I don’t believe This tour actually needs a tour guide. The cistern is an in and out visit and, whilst great to experience, you’d be better off paying the entrance fee and doing this on your own.

    February 2, 2020

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    Product ID: 192903