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Istanbul Byzantine Monasteries Full-Day Tour with Lunch

1. Istanbul Byzantine Monasteries Full-Day Tour with Lunch

If you are fan of Byzantine Art and civilization and want to know more about Byzantium Empire, then this is the tour for you. Istanbul is the capital of the Byzantium Empire that rocked the world from the 4th to the 15th centuries. Today, walk in the footsteps of the Byzantine rulers who once called Istanbul home. Visit the St. Polyeuktos church ruins, Pantokrator Church, Aspar Cistern, Pammakaristous Church (Fethiye Camii), the Chapel of St. John the Forerunner,the Monastery of St. Saviour in Chora, and Tekfur Palace on this incredible walking tour. Byzantine art and civilization paved the way for the Renaissance and modern world as we know it today. The center of this empire rested right beneath your feet, and on your walking tour of Istanbul's greatest Byzantine heritage sights, your guide will point out the monasteries and ruins of Constantinople. You will discover mystery and legend buried deep in these stone houses, cisterns, dungeons, and palaces.

Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace and Uskudar Guided Tour

2. Istanbul: Dolmabahçe Palace and Uskudar Guided Tour

Set off in your vehicle right from your hotel and drive over the first intercontinental bridge connecting Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus Bridge was built in 1973 and the length between its two legs is 1074 meters. At the time of its construction, it was the fourth-longest suspension bridge of the world. Explore the Ottoman mosques of Uskudar neighbourhood. After a photo stop, you will cruise along the suspension bridge before arriving at Dolmabahçe Palace. Explore the Dolmabahçe Palace, an architectural jewel in the heart of Istanbul. On Mondays, the palace is closed and will be replaced by Chora Museum. Led by a guide with specialist knowledge of the 19th Century Ottoman period, listen to the stories behind this luxurious building. Built by the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid between 1843 and 1856, the Palace is a mixture of Turkish and French influences. The exquisite and luxurious tastes of the era are evident everywhere you look. This palace boasts 285 rooms, 6 baths, 68 toilets and a ceiling made from 14 tons of gold. Splendid bohemian chandeliers adorn nearly every room and the famous crystal staircase is another example of the era’s decadence.

From Istanbul: 4-Day Small Group Istanbul & Cappadocia Tour

3. From Istanbul: 4-Day Small Group Istanbul & Cappadocia Tour

Your guide will meet you at your hotel between 08:00 and 08:30. Visit the Istanbul old city area which includes Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace. Have lunch during the tour. The average duration of this tour is 8-hours. At the end of the tour, your guide will leave you back at your hotel. On the second day, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby between 08:00 and 08:30. During this tour, you will visit the Golden Horn, the old city walls of Istanbul, the Spice Market and Dolmabahce Palace or Chora Museum. There will be a lunch stop during the tour. The tour will end at around 17:00. Please do not forget to take your luggage in the morning. After the tour, you will be transferred to airport for your flight to Cappadocia. Once you arrive in Cappadocia, you will have organized transfer from the airport to your hotel.  On your third day, your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel at around 09:00. You will enjoy a tour of southern Cappadocia, also known as the Green Tour, which will include the following sites: Derinkuyu Underground City (the largest underground city in the area with 7 floors 85 meters deep; not recommended for claustrophobic guests) and Ihlara Valley (1.5-hour trekking). Have a lunch stop in the village of Bellisirma. Afterwards, you will visit Piegon Valley (panoramic visit), Selime Monastery and Esentepe (panoramic view). After the tour, you will be dropped back off at your hotel. On the fourth and last day, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at around 09:00 and take you on a tour of northern Cappadocia, known as the Red Tour, to Rose Valley, Goreme Open Air Museum (important early Christianity center), Monks Valley, Cavusin village (one of the oldest settlements in the area), Avanos village (with stop at a traditional pottery workshop), Uchisar Castle and Dervent Valley. The average tour duration will be 8-hours. After the tour, you will be transferred back to the airport for your return flight to Istanbul.

Istanbul: 6-Hour Byzantine Tour Along the Golden Horn

4. Istanbul: 6-Hour Byzantine Tour Along the Golden Horn

Want to discover the Istanbul of Byzantine Constantinople? Have you finished the famous sites in Sultanahmet and ready to walk in areas where tourists do not go? Then this Byzantine Istanbul (Constantinople) tour along the Golden Horn will be the perfect choice for you. The vastness of the vision and boldness of the design of Byzantine era Constantinople is expressed through the Hagia Sophia located in Sultanahmet but medieval Constantinople around the Golden Horn offers more information. Poke around forgotten corners just over this hauntingly beautiful inlet – the Golden Horn and walk to see Constantinople before the Ottoman Conquest of 1453. Your Byzantine Istanbul Constantinople tour will start with a ferry ride from Eminonu or Karakoy zigzaging both sides of the Golden Horn to end in Ayvansaray. Ayvansaray is where Constantinople officially ended, so you’ll see and walk along the mighty Byzantine walls of Theodosius from the 5th century. Your first visit will be to an extraordinary Greek Orthodox Church – Mary Blachernae. The only church in the whole world where there’s a service on a Friday morning. Built on a sacred water source, the church is a pilgrimage site for the Greek people in Istanbul. Climb the 7th hill of Istanbul as you make your way to one of the oldest Byzantine palaces from the 13th century (Tekfur Sarayi). Then, walk your way back through Balat which houses one of Istanbul’s surviving mediaeval synagogues and trendiest houses that are now enjoying their second or even third type of use. In Fener, you will see the Greek Orthodox patriarchate housing a column, which is believed to have been used for the binding and flogging of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Istanbul Classics and Highlights: Full Day with Lunch

5. Istanbul Classics and Highlights: Full Day with Lunch

Istanbul is a city filled with exotic sights and sounds, and there is no better way to explore its mystery and intrigue than with a local guide. Visit the best of Istanbul and explore the stories and history that makes this Turkish city so fascinating. Start at the iconic Hagia Sophia museum to see its magnificent minarets and mosaics. Your guide will point out the most fascinating parts of this building before taking you to see the German Fountain; a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II. Here your guide will explain the historical context of Istanbul, from Ancient Roman times to today's metamorphosis into a bustling metropolis. Next, stop at the Topkapi Musuem to see Ottoman relics and prized Muslim garments. Stroll around the Topkapi Museum's graceful courtyards, then head to Hagia Irene Church to see its stunning architecture from the outside. End your day with a lively visit to the Grand Bazaar for your fill of shopping and people watching. The final places of interest are Caferaga Medrese and Sogukcesme Street.

Istanbul Full-Day Private Christian (Byzantium) Tour

6. Istanbul Full-Day Private Christian (Byzantium) Tour

Take a full-day tour of Istanbul and explore it from the perspective of the Byzantine Empire. See ruins of Byzantine churches, Byzantine stone houses, superb mosaics and frescoes at the Church of St. Saviour of Chora, the city’s underground cistern, and more. Traveling by air-conditioned coach, you will drive to the Church of St. Saviour in Chora. The Turkish word "Kariye" is derived from the ancient Greek word "Chora," meaning outside of the city. It is known that there was a chapel outside of the city before the 5th century when the city walls were erected. The first Chora Church was rebuilt by Justinianus and, in the era of Komnenoi, served as the court chapel for important religious ceremonies. Continue to the Fener Orthodox Patriarchate, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the seat of Orthodox Christianity since Constantine the Great’s declaration of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. Visit Zeyrek Mosque, the former Pantokrator Church. Representing the most typical example of architecture of the Byzantine middle period in Constantinople, it is the second largest religious edifice built by the Byzantines still standing after Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is your next stop. For centuries it was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul`s in London, St. Peter`s in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia, or “Divine Wisdom,” it is one of the greatest examples of Byzantine architecture in survival, and has been called “The 8th Wonder of the World” for its spectacular art and architecture. End your tour at the Basilica Cistern, or Yerebatan Sarayı ("Sunken Palace"), the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath Istanbul. Located 500 feet (150 meters) southwest of the Hagia Sophia, on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, the magical atmosphere of the underground palace dates back to the 6th century reign of Emperor Justinian I.

Crossroads of Humanity: Istanbul Half-Day Tour

7. Crossroads of Humanity: Istanbul Half-Day Tour

Istanbul is often considered the cross-roads of the world, and for good reason. This land has been home to mythological figures, raiding crusaders, and modern day avengers, making for a complicated and beautiful tapestry or new and old. Begin at the Patriarchate at Fener, the heart of Orthodox Christianity. Here your guide explains to you the importance of Constantine the Great's declaration of Christian as the religion of the Roman Empire, who subsequently moved the seat of the church here to Istanbul. Next you will visit the Church of Panagia of Blachernae, where it is said that the Hagiasma (Fountain of Holy Water) will cure all of your health problems. Even the emperor used to come here for cleansing! Next, we head to St. Savior in Chora (Kariye Museum) which was once a Byzantine monastery dedicated to Jesus. Here, you'll find beautifully preserved mosaics and frescoes. Pantocrator (Zeyrek) is the next stop, and in this labyrinthine complex, you will discover churches, funerary chapels, baths, hospice for the aged, and even a hostel for travelers arriving today. It is an incredible monument to the ingenuity of the Byzantine architects. Moving towards the water, we find the incredible remains of the Church of St. Mary Pammacaristos (Fethiye). These 11th century ruins display the aesthetic refinement of the Paleologan Age, and was once home to the Patriarchate after the conquests. Continuing our historical adventure, we head to Zoodochos Pege at Balıklı, which houses an underground cistern filled with gold fishes related to the miracle of fishes. From here we can also visit St. Sergius and Bacchus, both prime examples of Byzantine architecture. You may find yourself thinking that it looks like a miniature Hagia Sophia, and you wouldn't be wrong, because it's the precursor to that beautiful temple! The day is an incredible chance to learn the history of these cross-roads from the architecture and monuments left behind by generations of crusaders and ecclesiastics.

Istanbul: Off-the-Beaten-Track Museums Tour

8. Istanbul: Off-the-Beaten-Track Museums Tour

Your first stop will be the Suleymaniye Mosque, which was built on the order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and constructed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1557. The mosque is modeled in part on the style of a Byzantine basilica, particularly the Hagia Sophia, which was perhaps a conscious move on the part of the sultan to create a continuity and a symbolic connection with the city's past. Driving along the city walls will end at one of the oldest and most important churches in the city, the Church of Chora, which has fascinating wall paintings telling the life of Christ in an historical order. Even though the building itself is small, the meaning was great for Byzantines as being found at the borders of the city and welcoming the visitors. Today the environment is restored and this is a good place to spend time with local artisans and wooden houses. After the church, you will have a tea and coffee break at one of the most splendid spots of Istanbul, with beautiful views over the Golden Horn and Pierre Loti Hill. Following this you will resuming driving along the shores of the Golden Horn through the towns Fener and Balat, which are the old Greek and Jewish living sites. Fener Orthodox Patriarchate is in this area as well.  Following lunch, your next destination will be the Dolmabahce Palace, the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans with 365 rooms and 22 saloons. Famous for the great collection of European antiquity, furniture, and a 4.5 ton chandelier. This will be your last stop, and after this visit you will be driven back to your hotel.

Istanbul: Guided Byzantine Empire Churches Tour

9. Istanbul: Guided Byzantine Empire Churches Tour

Your tour will begin as your are picked up between 8:30AM and 9:00AM in a private air-conditioned and non-smoking van. Your professional and licensed guide will be waiting for you at your hotel lobby. The first stop on your tour will be Haigha Sophia, often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. The Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish) in Sultanahmet is easily one of Istanbul's most impressive sights, and it also has one of the most turbulent histories of any museum in the world. To find out why, it's best to delve back through its previous incarnations with your guide. Following the Haigha Sophia Museum, you will head to Chora Museum. This attraction is a church building that constitutes the center of the Chora Monastery, which was a great building complex in the Eastern Roman Empire period and was dedicated to Jesus Christ. Since it stood outside of the city walls built by Constantine, the building was called “Chora”, which means “in the country” or “outside of the city” in Greek. You can then eat lunch in any restaurant of your choosing, being able to ask your guide for the best food and restaurant recommendations. The last stop will be The Church of St. Mary of the Mongols. The Church of St. Mary of the Mongols is an Eastern Orthodox Church located in the Fatih District in the neighborhood of Fener. It stands on the summit of a slope, and overlooks the Golden Horn. The Church of St. Mary of the Mongols is the only surviving Byzantine Church of Constantinople, which the Ottomans never converted into a Mosque. It has always been open to the Greek Orthodox Christians, and its conversion into a mosque was saved by a personal decree of Mehmet the Conqueror. Your tour will then conclude, as your guide and van drop you anywhere in the city center .

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What people are saying about Chora Church

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 26 reviews

Had a really great experience. The guide, Diana, was friendly and knowledgeable. She is also passionate about the historical importance and significance of the different places we were brought to. Additionally, she was very conversant and we had many good exchanges and conversations. Her insights also brought a lot of new understanding and depth to each place. She was also highly helpful from the very beginning and really thank her from the bottom of our hearts!

I had the best tour guide Ozzy! As soon as he and his driver came to pick me up the cultural experience began. Prior to arriving at the palace we made a stop at the newly built Mosque over looking the city. Ozzy was an absolute delight and I recommend his knowledge and service to anyone new to Istanbul.

Our tour guide was Mr Furkan Sari. We was an excellent guide who explained to us about Turkey’s history pretty well. We really enjoyed our tour with him

Wealth of the formation , outstanding views, off beaten path delightfu

You should be in good physical condition to do this tour. Lot of walking uphill!

I recommend this tour to all interested in history of Christianity.