- 3-hour Byzantine history tour of Istanbul by luxury coach
- Discover the ancient city of Constantinople and learn about the city’s significant early Christian sites
- Visit the Ecumencial Orthodox Patriarchate in Fener, home to the ceremonial head of the Greek Orthodox church
- See a shrine to the Holy Virgin at the Church of St Mary of Blachernae
- Explore the ruins of ancient Blachernae Palace and see Anemas Dungeons
- Walk around the Walls of Constantinople, admiring the remains of old city gates and towers
Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour
If you visit Istanbul, you have to see this.
What You Can Expect
Stop in the Greek neighborhood of Fener at the Ecumencial Orthodox Patriarchate – an intriguing church compound where the ceremonial head of the Greek Orthodox Church is based. Visit the Church of St George (the site’s main church) and see its Byzantine patriarchal throne, dripping with opulent ornamentation.
Continue to the historical neighborhood of Ayvansaray, known in Byzantine days as Blachernae, to see the Church of St Mary of Blachernae – one of Istanbul’s best-known Eastern Orthodox churches. While its exterior is nothing to shout about, the church itself is highly significant to the country’s Eastern Orthodox community with its much-celebrated status as a shrine to the Holy Virgin. Head inside to see a holy water spring.
Visit the Western District next, to see Chora Church, a spectacular Byzantine monastery. While exploring with your guide, admire its stunning mosaics that depict the life of Christ and marvel at the equally elaborate frescoes, painted in intricate detail that was way ahead of other Byzantine artwork.
Return to Ayvansaray to explore the ancient site of Blachernae Palace, and while the site is now more ‘rubble’ than palace, its ruins provide an inspiring sense of its former glory. See the outside of Anemas Dungeons, learning how it was once a terrifying Byzantine prison, and then see the exterior of Tekfur Palace (or Palace of Constantine Porphyrogenitus to give it its due) – the only surviving building of Blachernae Palace.
Finish with a walk around the Walls of Constantinople, seeing the remains of the ancient city’s old towers and gates, and then end your tour in the Sultanahmet district in the center of town.
The tour was great! The staff was knowledgable and took us to so many places I wouldn't had been able to find on my own. I recommend the tour for art historians and also for many Greeks who want to discover the beauty and history of the Byzantine Empire
very well organized and presented history of the Byzantine Empire
Interesting tour. It was nice to get out to other neighbourhoods during our stay. The Chora church was beautiful, definitely worth seeing. Our tour was much shorter than the advertised duration however and it would've been nice to have the extra time to explore.
This was good as far as it went but it was a very short tour i.e under 2 hours total [ although the hotel transfer was 90 minutes each way]. It was very interesting to visit the lovely Chorea Monastary and 2 Orthodox churches. However that was it. I had mainly booked the tour to be able to actually walk about on the walls of Constantinople but we had no more than a quick glimpse as we drove past on the bus so that was disappointing. Many of the people on the bus had also been on a tour in the morning and were not that mobile and the weather was not great so possibly the tour was shorter than usual.
I was so disappointed to discover that 2 of the 5 places we were supposed to visit were closed for renovations (and will be for the next few months), so we just stopped in front of them in the bus. If they know you can't go to all the places they should either discount the trip or replace them with something else.
This tour was ok - a good supplement to the other main tours if you have more days. I would recommend doing the others first.