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Basilica Cistern Istanbul
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Visiting Basilica Cistern Istanbul

4.5 (100%) 939 votes

Starring in numerous movies like the 1963 James Bond movie From Russia With Love, another movie called Brotherhood of Tears and in the novel Inferno by Dan Brown as well as its adaptation into a movie, this attraction has turned into one of the most famous tourist attractions in Turkey. This cistern has also been featured in the famous video game Assassins Creed as well as in the Marvel movie Black Widow. The incredible architecture of this cistern, its grandeur, and elegance along with its highly unusual history attracts countless tourists and historians to the attraction every year. All of the mentions of this cistern in the books, movies as well as other adaptations has only made this place more popular. Located in Europe, this attraction is considered as grand as the other ones located in Europe including the Eiffel Tower. This attraction promises a unique and spectacular experience like no other and is worthy of a visit.

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Come to visit the unique and grand Basilica Cistern

Come to visit the unique and grand Basilica Cistern

Entrance

Entrance

The entrance to the Basilica Cistern is a fusion of classic European styling with hints of Arabic styling. The entrance is intricately designed and has gone renovations at multiple points in the history of the cistern. The entrance has some inscriptions above the entrance which presumably have been made during the construction of the cistern or one of the renovations of the cistern.

Medusa Heads

Medusa Heads

Many of the columns supporting this structure have been salvaged from the ruins of the other roman monuments from around the region. The columns have intricate designs engraved on them and are a marvel on their own. The styling of these columns reveals the ancient architecture styling of the region. Among these columns, a few columns standout for their design. These columns are known as Medusa heads because of the intricately engraved heads of the Roman. The folklore of the heads says that they have been installed to avoid any misfortunes on the cistern as per the mythology of Medusa. The two columns have different designs from each other. On one of the columns, the Medusa head is placed sideways, and on the other column, the head is placed in an upside-down way. The reasons for such designs are unknown, but many local folklore are present over the designs.

Peacock Eyed Column

Peacock Eyed Column

One of the 336 columns holding the cistern in place is the peacock eyed column. This column stands out amongst others because of its unique and intricate design. This column has a detailed design of the eyes on a peacock's feathers. The painfully handcrafted column leaves you spellbound with its magnificence.

Basilica Cistern Istanbul Tips and Tricks

How to Get Tickets?

The tickets are available at the entrance of the attraction. The ticket counter tends to have a long queue and hence purchasing the tickets might take fairly long. The cistern is open from 9 in the morning to 5:30 in the evening.

How To Get Around?

Getting around the city is fairly easy. Public transports are available, but private taxis are preferred. Make sure you arrange for the taxi from reputable sources only. Once inside the cistern, there are a few stairs to go down, and you have to walk once inside the cistern. Keeping a map handy is also recommended.

What Should I Wear?

Casual and comfortable clothes which cover the entire body. Avoid wearing anything fancy and try to blend in with the locals as much as possible. Shoes are the way to go and carry a bag for essentials like a bottle of water. Sunscreen is recommended. Make sure you wear enough layers depending upon the time of the year that you are visiting.

Basilica Cistern Istanbul Facts

Best Time to Visit

Turkey tends to have extreme summers and winters. Thus, spring and fall are the best times to visit. April to May and September to November are considered as the ideal time to visit.

Currency

Turkish Lira

Will I Need a Guide?


How To Get There?

Istanbul is well connected to the rest of Europe by road. It also has fairly regular flights to other major cities in the region. The public transport is well developed. Taxis are also available but make sure you book these taxis from reliable sources.

Additional Info

Turkey is one of the most conservational countries and thus avoid any altercations with the locals or any which would hurt the sentiments of the locals. Make sure all your services are booked only through sources which you trust and can be relied upon. Avoid carrying large amounts of money and use cards to pay wherever possible. Also, keep your money distributed in various places. Beware of fraudsters as well.

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