Serefiye Cistern Istanbul (Where? What to See? Tickets)

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Amidst the enchanting lanes of the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul, a true gem awaits – the Serefiye Cistern. You can experience the magic of Şerefiye Cistern, where history, art, and technology converge in an immersive journey through Istanbul’s captivating past. Here we’ll explore the secrets of this 1600-year-old marvel, where history seamlessly merges with art and technology.

A Glimpse into History

As you step into the Şerefiye Cistern, you are transported back in time to the era of Theodosius II (408-450). The absence of inscriptions leaves room for speculation, but architectural features suggest its origins during Theodosius II’s reign.

The cistern’s 24m x 40m expanse, adorned with 45 sail vaults and 32 columns, showcases the grandeur of Byzantine engineering. Corinthian capitals, crafted from Marmara Island marble, bear witness to the meticulous craftsmanship of the past.

The Şerefiye Cistern has fewer columns than the Basilica Cistern. While the Şerefiye Cistern boasts 264 columns, the Basilica Cistern features 336 columns.

Cisterns: The Lifeblood of Istanbul

In a city marked by sieges and a growing population, cisterns emerged as the lifeblood of Istanbul. The Şerefiye Cistern, with its 2.5m thick walls and watertight plaster, played a pivotal role in sustaining the baths of the Great Palace, Nymphaeum, and Zeuxippus. The original floor and well-preserved Corinthian capitals set it apart, offering a glimpse into the hidden heritage of 1600 years.

Unveiling the Hidden Heritage

The cistern’s name echoes the reign of Theodosius II, and its hidden heritage emerged beneath the Arif Pasa Estate in 2010. The surrounding area transformed into an archaeological park, preserving the Byzantine infrastructure. Today, the Şerefiye Cistern stands as the world’s oldest building with a 360° projection mapping system, providing an unparalleled historical space experience.

The World’s First: 360° Projection Mapping

Step into a new realm of historical exploration with the Şerefiye Cistern’s 360° projection mapping system. It’s not just a museum; it’s an interactive journey through time. The show unfolds in five parts, guiding visitors through the spatial intricacies of walls, columns, and ceilings with mesmerizing 3D effects.

A Journey Through Time and Water

The second part immerses you in Istanbul’s water routes, tracing aqueducts and distribution lines. The interconnectedness of aqueducts and cisterns comes to life through schematic waterway depictions, offering a unique perspective on the city’s water culture.

Memory Lane: 1600 Years in Review

In the third part, witness the collective memory and historical layers of Istanbul. A new interpretation revives the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, with vibrant icons and Turkish tile art decorating the cistern’s walls.

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Victory Reflected on Water

The final act narrates the tale of those who founded the new Republic after the Turkish War of Independence. As the mapping unfolds, the Şerefiye Cistern returns to its unique historical and architectural glory.

Visiting Hours & Admissions

Opening Hours

Open every day between 09:00 to 19:00

Ticket Price

Please double check for the tickets and opening hours.


  • The Serefiye Cistern is wheelchair accessible. However, there is no wheelchair service available on the site. You need to provide your own wheelchair if needed.
  • You can access to the visiting platform by an elevator.
  • The visiting area is designed to be accessible by wheelchair.
  • Entrance is FREE of charge for disabled visitors, including one companion.

How to Get There?


The Serefiye Cistern is located at Piyer Loti street near Sultanahmet Square.

Contact Details

Address: Binbirdirek Mh., Piyer Loti Cd. No:2/1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul
Tel: 0212 222 28 82

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