Basilica Cistern Opening Hours

Basilica Cistern Opening hours

The Basilica Cistern’s opening hours are from 9 am to 10 pm, all year round and the last admission is at 6.30 pm. This is one of Istanbul’s famous attractions and around 2 million people visit it annually. Basilica cistern is an underground water storage system that dates back to the Byzantine era in the 6th century. The peak hours from midday to early afternoon draw large crowds and thus the queue at the entrance is also longer. 

Alternatively, the non-peak hours, that is early mornings or late afternoons, often have shorter lines. To maximise your time and reduce wait times, it is advised to schedule your visit during off-peak hours. It is essential to confirm the Basilica Cistern Istanbul opening hours before scheduling your visit as there could be closures or changes in timings as well 

Best Time To Visit The Basilica Cistern

For Detailed Info Checkout: Plan Your Visit to Basilica Cistern

Weekday vs Weekend

Weekdays see fewer crowds, so you may fully enjoy the serene atmosphere and admire the architecture of the Basilica Cistern. Alternatively, weekends attract more tourists, which means longer queues and less time to explore the site at leisure. If you are going on a weekend, it is recommended to go early morning or late afternoon to skip the large crowds. In addition to this, you can purchase the tickets online and reduce your waiting time at the ticket counter.

Peak Season

The peak season, which ranges from June to August, attracts a large number of tourists to the Basilica cistern in Turkey. During this time, there is an increase in the prices of accommodations and dining options. Moreover, the queues at the ticket counter are also lengthy so it is advised to book the tickets beforehand. If you visit the attraction early in the morning you can explore everything at the attraction with fewer crowds.  

Shoulder Season

The Basilica Cistern’s shoulder season is from March through May and September through November. During this time, you can explore this underground wonder with fewer crowds. In addition to this, the weather is also pleasant and it's a great opportunity to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this ancient site. 

Waning Season

The waning season of Basilica Cistern starts from December till February. With fewer crowds and short lines, you can explore this place peacefully while saving a lot of time. During these months, the accommodations and the flight fares also decrease, making it an ideal choice to visit if you are looking for a budget-friendly holiday. 

Tips To Know Before Visiting Basilica Cistern

  • Visit the Basilica Cistern Either Late in the Afternoon or Early in the Morning: The Basilica Cistern's opening hours are from 9 am to 10 pm, however during the midday hours it is busiest. So, if you go in the morning or late afternoon, there's a better chance to explore the cistern with fewer crowds. 
  • Avoid Going to the Basilica Cistern on Weekends or Holidays: Holidays and weekends are the times when the Basilica Cistern tends to be most crowded, thus leading to long queues. If possible, try to visit during the weekdays to skip the crowds that arrive on the weekends and public holidays. 
  • Go There in the Waning Season: The cistern sees the least crowds during the waning season, from December to February. This period allows for quick entry because the ticket queues are shorter. If your travel schedule is flexible, plan your trip during these months to explore the magnificent cistern peacefully with a few people. 


Is the Basilica Cistern open every day?

Yes, the Basilica Cistern is open throughout the year The Basilica Cistern's opening hours are from 9 am to 10 pm, with the last admission at 6.30 pm. Additionally, it is advised to visit the basilica early morning or late in the afternoon to explore it with fewer crowds. 

How long should I spend at the Basilica Cistern?

It takes around 30 minutes to one hour to explore the Basilica Cistern, depending on your interests. If you choose our guided tours, you can learn in-depth about the main highlights, including the Weeping Column, the Medusa heads, and the 336 columns. 

Is the Basilica Cistern open on public holidays?

Yes, the Basilica Cistern is open all year round including public holidays. It is advised to plan your trip during the weekdays to avoid the large crowds that visit on the holidays and weekends. Additionally, you should check Basilica Cistern’s Istanbul opening hours before visiting to avoid any unexpected closures. 

Is there a dress code for Basilica Cistern?

Although there isn't a dress code to enter the Basilica Cistern, it is advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes as this attraction requires a lot of walking. Moreover, consider covering your arms and knees when you visit a religious place in Turkey. 

How long is the queue for the Basilica Cistern?

The length of the queue for the Basilica Cistern depends on the time of day, day of the week, and season. During peak hours, the queues at the attraction may be longer. While during quieter times, such as early mornings or weekdays, the queue may be shorter. 


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