Things to do in Istanbul

Guide to Basilica Cistern’s entrance

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The Basilica Cistern is one of Istanbul's many underground reservoirs. This water storage is so old that it has witnessed the rise and fall of empires. Linked to the renowned Hagia Sophia, a famous mosque and former Christian church, this palace is a site you cannot miss when exploring the area. As the palace is located underground, you may be curious about the location of its entrance. Read on to discover the entry points to the Basilica Cistern and make the most of your valuable time while visiting Istanbul.

Recommended tickets to Basilica Cistern


Where is the Basilica Cistern entrance?

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, located in Istanbul's Sultanahmet Square, is situated near the renowned Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, and the Blue Mosque. There is only one main entrance to the Basilica Cistern which can be found on Yerebatan Caddesi street and to your right if you can see Sultan Ahmed Park straight up ahead. Look for a large ticket office with long queues and a small door leading down to the cistern.


Average wait time at the Basilica Cistern entrance

Basilica Cistern

If you don't have a skip-the-line ticket, expect to wait 25-30 minutes during peak hours and holidays, or 10-15 minutes during non-peak times. As the Basilica Cistern is located near Istanbul's major landmarks, it's best to visit around noon to escape the midday heat while exploring the underground site.


Disabled access

Basilica Cistern - wheelchair access

Disabled guests can access the Basilica Cistern through the main entrance near Hagia Sophia. The entrance is wheelchair accessible; however, there is only one lift available, which can accommodate a single wheelchair at a time. Waiting times may reach 25-30 minutes if other disabled guests are ahead in the queue. Please note that no wheelchair services are provided inside the cistern, so visitors must bring their own wheelchairs.

Basilica Cistern Entrance