Things to do in Istanbul

Here are the best guided tours we offer for Basilica Cistern

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The Basilica Cistern, a stunning underground water reservoir in Istanbul, Turkey, is a marvel of ancient engineering. Built in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian I, this subterranean wonder has a rich and fascinating history. Knowledgeable guides will lead you through the dimly lit chambers, sharing captivating stories and pointing out the cistern's unique features, such as the iconic Medusa head columns.

To truly appreciate the cistern's architectural beauty and historical significance, a guided tour is highly recommended. Read this blog to know what a guided tour of the Basilica Cistern entails and why it's the best way to explore this remarkable site.

Recommended tickets to Basilica Cistern

Why take a guided tour of the Basilica Cistern

1. Uncover hidden secrets

A guided tour allows you to uncover the hidden secrets and lesser-known facts about the Basilica Cistern. Experienced guides will share intriguing stories and legends associated with this ancient site, enriching your understanding of its historical context.

2. Gain insights into architecture

The Basilica Cistern is a remarkable example of Byzantine architecture. During a guided tour, you'll gain valuable insights into the cistern's unique design, including its 336 impressive columns and intricate brickwork.

3. Uncover often overlooked features

Disney world

One of the most iconic features of the Basilica Cistern is the pair of Medusa head columns. During a guided tour, you'll learn about the fascinating mythology behind these columns and their significance within the cistern's design. There’s wish making hole on the Hen’s Eye column

4. Skip-the-line access

Guided tours include skip-the-line access, allowing you to bypass the long queues and make the most of your time at the Basilica Cistern. This is particularly beneficial during peak tourist seasons when wait times can be lengthy.

Top 3 Basilica Cistern Guided Tours

Guided tour with skip-the-line access

This is the best ticket option if you are planning to visit only the Basilica Cistern. An English-speaking guide will be waiting for you at the entrance. Show your e-ticket at the gate to bypass the long queue outside. Along with the ticket, you also get an audio guide in eight languages. The best part is that the ticket is easily upgradable to include neighboring attractions like Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.

Combo guided tour

Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are within walking distance of each other. Buying a combo guided tour makes sense if you want to save money and time. The combo guided tour includes skip-the-line access to all three attractions. It’ll take approximately four hours to cover all three sites and you'll have a knowledgeable guide to provide historical context and interesting facts about each attraction.

Istanbul Top Museums 3-Day Pass

Discover Istanbul's most iconic landmarks with the Istanbul Top Museums 3-Day Pass. This comprehensive ticket grants you skip-the-line access to Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque, as well as a scenic Bosphorus Cruise. With a validity of 3 days, you have the flexibility to explore each site at your own pace or join guided tours led by knowledgeable English-speaking guides. The pass also includes an audio guide app available in 10 languages.

Basilica Cistern Guided Tours