Guided Serefiye Cistern Tour

Guided Museums Tours
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198 Reviews #8 in Istanbul

€10 Regular Ticket Value

Are you ready for a Guided Serefiye Cistern Tour?

Let’s have a small flashback to this magnificent cistern! The Byzantine Emperor ordered its construction between 428 and 443 with the purpose of storing fresh water for the city! And for centuries, the Serefiye Cistern met Istanbul's water needs. You will be amazed with the architecture and stories of this place!

It is very easy to visit Serefiye Cistern with the Istanbul Tourist Pass. 

Istanbul Tourist Pass guides will inform you about this magnificent place! Get ready to hear lots of interesting stories about the cistern! It will be very memorable for you!

Check out our Guided Tours Timetable and add Guided Serefiye Cistern Tour | Istanbul Tourist Pass to your Istanbul itinerary today!

About The Guided Serefiye Cistern Tour

Mobile ticketing - No need for printed voucher, we're digital!

Duration 20 minutes - Check availability to see starting times.

Instant confirmation -  The tour doesn't require a reservation in advance.

Guide - English



Discover the source of water for the baths of historical buildings such as the Great Palace, Nymphaeum, and Zeuksippos back in the day.

Enjoy the history with guideance

See and be amazed by the 360-degree Projection Mapping technology, used for the first time in Turkey for its visitors.



An amazing skip-the-line guided tour

Entrance to Serefiye Cistern Tour


Covid-19 precautions

Safety - All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned

Social - Distancing is maintained in museums

Mask - Wearing mask is mandatory during museum visit

Limited Visitors - To reduce crowds, the number of visitors is limited


Serefiye Cistern

The Serefiye Cistern is also known as the Theodosius Cistern after the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II who had it built between 428 and 443 to store fresh water for the city. The water was taken from Belgrade Forest through many canals which led to the Valens Aqueduct and finally to the Theodosius Cistern. The Serefiye Cistern and the more famous Basilica Cistern met Istanbul's water needs for centuries.

After 8 years of restoration, the Serefiye Cistern is now open to visitors and hosts many concerts and exhibitions.

Hours & Meeting

Temporarily Not Available

How To Get There?

Getting There

The 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.

To get to Sultanahmet Square, take the T1 Bağılar - Kabataş tram and get off at Sultanahmet station. Walk towards Hagia Sophia and keep an eye out for the Big Bus stop.

Get Directions

Important Information

The guided tours are performed in English.

The tour starts at the stop of the Big Bus in Sultanahmet. Click on Get Directions above to find the location.

You need to be at the meeting point at least 10 minutes bofore the start time of the tour.

The tour doesn't require a reservation in advance.

Guided Serefiye Cistern Tour FREE With

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Guided Serefiye Cistern Tour is Included in Istanbul Tourist Pass®️ with English speaking Professional Guide.

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All About Guided Serefiye Cistern Tour

About Serefiye Cistern

Şerefiye Cistern is one of the best places to visit in Istanbul with its rich history and breathtaking structure. It is always very interesting for tourists and domestic visitors to explore this historic structure located in the underground of Istanbul.

Şerefiye Cistern, completed during the Byzantine period, has been standing for many years and synthesizing many cultures. With the Istanbul Tourist Pass, you can get the opportunity to visit this historical building with privileges such as a fantastic guided tour where you can explore the cistern with a professional guide.

The Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II built Şerefiye Cistern in 428, and its construction was completed 15 years later. The purpose of constructing the cistern was to store water from a water source called the Bozdoğan Arch. At the time, it was essential for the states that govern Istanbul to provide water supply to the city's people.

The location of the cistern built was called Şerefiye, and the cistern took its name from it. After the Byzantine Period, with the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman State, Şerefiye Cistern remained under the control of the Ottoman Empire. In the 19th century, a mansion named Arif Pasha was built on top of Şerefiye Cistern. In 2010, the structure above the cistern was demolished, and a magnificent historical structure appeared underneath it.  Don't forget to add this historic structure that traces back to the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires to your Istanbul travel itinerary!

The Architecture of Şerefiye Cistern 

There are many historical tourist attractions in Istanbul, and the Şerefiye Cistern has become one of the most popular places for visitors with its fascinating structure since 2010. This structure, which is 1600 years old, was used as a water tank for centuries. It has undergone many restorations and remains standing. The architectural structure was specially built in the Byzantine Period as a water source, but it later lost this feature.

Şerefiye Cistern, as an underground structure supported by solid and aesthetic columns, fully preserves the historical spirit's image. The cistern is an architectural building with a height of 11 meters, designed as 24x40 meters. The powerful columns supporting the structure consist of 32 of them, and there are 45 sailing vaults in the structure.

The Cistern marbles are composed of Marmara Island's special marbles, and its interior is covered with a unique waterproof substance. When you examine the design, you can see that its corners are curved to stabilize the water pressure.

If you want to explore the best places to visit in Istanbul, Şerefiye Cistern is one of them! With the Istanbul Tourist Pass, you can see this very newly emerged cistern with more information from trained, professtional tourist guides!

360 Degree Projection Mapping in the Şerefiye Cistern

The feature that makes Şerefiye Cistern one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions is that it combines history and technology. The building incorporates the 360-degree Projection Mapping technology, used for the first time in Turkey for its visitors. You can observe the structure, a precious museum, and unique underground architecture to the smallest detail with this new technology.

The Projection Mapping show integrated into the Şerefiye Cistern consists of 10 parts and shows the walls, columns of the structure, and the entire space in 3D. If you are interested in history and not fed up with exploring, you should try visiting the cistern with projection technology!

Şerefiye Cistern Facts

  • Şerefiye Cistern was used as a water tank and source of water for the baths of historical buildings such as the Great Palace, Nymphaeum, and Zeuksippos back in the day.
  • Şerefiye Cistern, built primarily as a mansion, was also used as the Istanbul Eminönü Municipality Building until 2010.
  • The Şerefiye Cistern Museum is considered the oldest building in the world combined with such technology with the 360-degree projection map it offers. With the map, you can observe a unique expedition to the old water canals of Istanbul.
  • The heads located at the top of the Şerefiye Cistern structure are equipped with bear claw leaves.
  • Other well-known names of the Şerefiye Cistern are Cistern of Constantine and Theodosius.

If you are looking for a historic building for your Istanbul trip, don't forget to add underground structures to your Istanbul travel itinerary. With these unique features, Şerefiye Cistern is one of Istanbul's most fascinating historical tourist attractions. By using your Istanbul Tourist Pass, you have the opportunity to visit other unique underground architectures such as the Basilica Cistern without losing time and paying extra!


Advantages Of Istanbul Tourist Pass®

By having the Istanbul Tourist Pass®, you can visit more than 60+ attractions in Istanbul. You can save huge amount of time and money by not waiting in the long queues or paying fees at the entrances of the museums or for other facilities and activities. You can buy the Istanbul Tourist Pass®️ for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days. So many attractions are available with Istanbul Tourist Pass®️ such as Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Dolmabahçe Palace, Sapanca Lake daily tour, Dinner on the Bosphorus, Istanbul Airport Shuttle etc. included in the pass. For more details and updated attractions available with the pass can be found on website.

Guided Serefiye Cistern Tour Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Visit the Şerefiye Cistern?

Although Şerefiye Cistern is almost as old as Istanbul with its approximately 1600-year history, it reappeared in 2010. You can have a journey back in the history of Istanbul.

What is Included in the Tour for Şerefiye Cistern?

While visiting the unique underground structure, you can witness a detailed historical film, which you can watch in detail at a 360-degree angle. In addition, an experienced guide will be telling you about the Şerefiye Cistern and what is inside.

Can I Get in Serefiye Cistern Museum with Istanbul Tourist Pass?

No, this attraction cannot be accessed directly by presenting the digital Pass at the museum.

Where Can I Meet with the Guide?

You can find meeting location at "Hours & Meeting" section, our guides carry a white flag with the logo of Istanbul Tourist Pass®

When I Can Join the Museum Tour with a Guide?

You can find tour hours at "Hours & Meeting" section. Please meet your guide at the meeting point 10 minutes before the tour start time.

What are the Working Hours and Days to Visit Şerefiye Cistern?

Şerefiye Cistern Museum accepts visitors every day from 09:00 am to 19:00 pm.

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