In case you might be thinking that Istanbul is just what you see, the Basilica Cistern Guided Tour is here to prove you wrong. Accept the challenge, and tour one of the city’s most interesting places, characterized as an architectural and engineering wonder
Beneath the bustling atmosphere of the city, there is a complex of ancient cisterns, the Underground Palace as the Ottomans used to call it. Explore one of the locations where the film “Inferno” was filmed, observe the ancient structure and feel the imposing atmosphere of this place. The real adventure takes place underground!
The Basilica Cistern Guided Tour offers what you need to explore this imposing underground structure and travel back in time. Join us for an incredible experience and learn the history, admire the ancient architecture, understand the engineering concept, and get to feel the mysticism that this sight has.
The tour is available on a daily basis and lasts for approximately 30 minutes. Please refer to the timetables as the tour is conducted on different times each day. The tour is guided, meaning that a local tour guide will help you explore Basilica Cistern by explaining important features and insights. Please note that, transfers are not included in the price. If you wish to be part of this underground exploration, please be at the meeting point, at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time and without prior booking. The meeting point is at Sultanahmet Square, a central location which allows easy access.
This tour has no hotel transfer, our guests must make their way to the meeting location on their own. Please meet your guide at the meeting point 10 minutes before the tour start time.
The Basilica Cistern Tour starts at the main bus stop for the Big Bus Tour Company at Sultanahmet Square. Look out for the dark red double-decker buses. It’s about 20 metres (65 ft) in front of the Hagia Sophia Museum.
About Basilica Cistern
Constructed between 527 and 565 by the Byzantine Emperor I. Justinian, the Basilica Cistern is one of the most imposing and well-preserved sights in Istanbul. An interesting fact about it is that, it has the capacity to store 100000 tons of water. The whole structure is supported by 336 marble columns, each of them being 9 meters tall. One of them most notable features found in the Basilica Cistern, is a roman sculpture known as the Medusa Head. The beauty of this incredible marble head is unique and interesting, just as the interpretations about its meaning. According to ancient mythology, Medusa was in love with Zeus and Athena cursed her. Her hair turned into snakes and any man who looked at her was turning into a stone. It is believed that the head of Medusa was placed there in order to protect the structure.
Basilica Cistern Guided Tour
With the Basilica Cistern Guided Tour you have the opportunity to visit this iconic location, which except from its historical importance it is also famous in the pop culture for hosting scenes of the infamous Hollywood movie “Inferno”. No prior booking is required. In fact, all you have to do is to be at the meeting point 10 minutes prior the scheduled time. There, you will meet our assigned tour guide, who will be in charge to explain all the great details about this sight. The tour is conducted in English so feel free to ask anything you want. Get ready for an incredible journey back in time and to get impressed by the astonishing underground structure.
For the purposes of the Basilica Cistern Guided Tour, the meeting point is at Sultanahmet Square, just in front of Hagia Sophia Museum. Therefore, if you are reaching the meeting point via public transportation, use the T1 tram line, direction Bağılar – Kabataş, which takes you directly to Sultanahmet station. Once there, walk towards Hagia Sophia and check for the meeting point. Sultanahmet Square is at the city centre, which means that, you can always walk there or use a taxi service. You are instructed to be at the meeting point at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time of the tour.
Basilica Cistern Guided Tour: Locals’ tips
Basilica Cistern Guided Tour is just the right option if you are actually looking for a way to get the most interesting facts and tips about this place. Well, the sight was used multiple times in the pop culture as it appeared in famous movies, such as James Bond and Inferno. In addition, it is featured in the popular video game Assassin’s Creed. What to know more? Join the Basilica Cistern Guided Tour and let the history unfold in front of your eyes.