Istanbul (Constantinople) has been one of 3 capitals of Greek Roman Orthodox Christianity since 12th century. Before that time when Emperor Constantine had moved the capital of Roman Empire here, city of Istanbul became the capital of huge Christian World. Therefore, they had built many impressive imperial churches such as Hagia Sophia and also they had some other very important churches which had been built as patriarchate, imperial churches , etc. Chora Pammakaristos churches are some of very important churches where you can understand the Eastern Christian Heritage in this tour. Besides visiting these beautiful buildings with your guide, you will be in very local casual life by exploring the hidden streets. Especially, if you love being in beaten path to live the real atmosphere of the city away from crowd and touristic areas, then you cannot do much better than spending a day in the fascinating streets of historically cosmopolitan Fener/Balat area. Colorful houses which are painted in myriad live colors give a sense and character to area. Also traces of Jews, Armenians and Greek Orthodox communities still can be seen. Worth doing it!
- DURATION: One day historical walking tour
- TYPE OF TOUR: Fully historical walking tour and semi-private tour with max 12 people and min 6 adult guests
- DEPARTURE POINT: Cafe in front of Chora Church by the ticket office. You will see the sign of our company as PEACE TRAVEL SERVICE (TGZ) when you get there.
- DEPARTURE TIME: 8:30am
- DATES: Everyday except Wednesdays. Chora Church is closed on Wednesdays.
- INCLUDES: Professional guidance, admission fees of museums,
- EXCLUDES: Personal expenses, meals and drinks in any restaurant or cafes, pick up and drop off from/to hotels, optional tipping for your guide.
- It is a “semi-private fully historical tour” with max 12 and min 6 adult people. Meaning, you won’t be in a crowded group, so you can hear your guide clearly and ask questions.
- It will be fully walking tour all day off the beaten paths of Istanbul.
- We DO NOT pick you up from your hotel. Istanbul is such a big city and it is very easy to travel to the Chora Church (Kariye Museum by Edirnekapi district). All cab drivers know it well. We do not prefer to waste time in traffic from one hotel to another to pick up people and bring the old city. Tour starts at 08.30am from departure point. We prefer starting tour early to avoid the crowds and not to be in heavy traffic in the morning. To come meeting point by yourself, we can mail the directions of meeting point from your hotel. Also all our contact numbers are available all time.
- If guests request to be picked up from their hotel, cruise port, airport or any other places, we can provide it with additional fee up on distance to meeting point.
- While booking tour, please note; If our guest come with a cruise ship, all details about cruise ship, docking port name, arrival and departure time of cruise ship, number of people, any allergic conditions, health problems, name of people must be given.
- Guests must have very comfortable shoes to walk on cobblestone surfaces, inclines and 10-30 steps in a day. We recommend a hat and sun cream as there might be limited shade. Also, guests should watch their steps at all time in order to avoid injuries.
- All our guests will be insured as participants. To cancel daily tours, cancelling process have to be done 24 hours before the tour starts and all payment will be fully refunded to the guest if cancellation is done minimum 24 hours before. Otherwise it will remain as “no show” and cannot be paid back to the guest.
- Please send an e-mail about your tour itinerary with official agreement to avoid congestion.
- Chora Church is closed on Wednesdays; Please check our other tours which run on Wednesdays!
- *Our guide may swap priority of places to make tour less tiring and avoid crowd.
- *We base our semi-private tours on customized preferences. We also customize these tours for travelers who prefer doing private tour.
- Our company organizes all our tours legally by PEACE TRAVEL SERVICE as an official Travel Agency with A-9802 TURSAB. We provide highly experienced licensed tour guides to all our guests.
DepartureCafe in front of Chora Church by the ticket office
Return TimeApproximately 5.30PM
Dress CodeCasual, comfortable and light
City Walls and Chora Church
After meeting in front of Chora Church, we start our tour by visiting Chora Church Museum where we can see the whole story of Christianity on the walls and ceilings of Chora. Chora meant countryside in Greek Roman language. After the occupation of Crusades, Byzantines had converted this small church to latest imperial church and decorated the walls by mosaics and frescoes. After visiting Chora Church we walk to Tekfur Palace by Byzantine City walls. Tekfur Palace was the latest palace of Byzantine Empire.
Pammakaristos Church (Fethiye Mosque)
After Chora we keep walking to Pammakaristos Church (Fethiye Mosque) which was the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate following the fall of Constantinople in 15th century. It was converted to mosque in 1587. We keep walking among the streets by passing the very religious locations of Istanbul. Ismail Agha Mosque and Masnavi Mosque are kinds of their symbolic mosques there.
Church of Saint Mary (Bloody Maria Church)
Next stop will be Church of Saint Maria (Bloody Maria Church). It is an Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul. It is the only Byzantine church of Constantinople that has never been converted to a mosque and always remained as Greek Orthodox Church.
And then we walk round of Red School which was built in 1881 as Fener Greek Orthodox High School for boys. I can say it is the most magnificent building of the area which can be seen from Golden Horn too. And we walk down from most rapid slope of Istanbul.
Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul
Last stop will be Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Istanbul. It is a very nice building which was built in 19th century. It is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. The ecumenical patriarchs in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity and resolution of various doctrinal disputes. In the middle ages, they played a major role in the affairs of the Eastern Orthodox world. Currently, the patriarchs have been involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work and defense of Orthodox Christian traditions.
Bulgarian Iron Cast Church
Bulgarian Saint Stephen Church is an Orthodox church in Balat district of Istanbul and made out of iron. It is a rare and unique example of cast iron architecture. It was cast in Vienna and bolted together in Istanbul in 1871.
Balat and Fener Neighborhoods
If you love being in beaten path to live the real atmosphere of the city away from crowded and touristic areas, then you cannot do much better than spending a day in the fascinating streets of historically cosmopolitan Fener Balat area. Colorful houses which are painted in myriad live colors give a sense and character to the area. Also traces of Jews, Armenians and Greek Orthodox communities still can be seen.
Ayvansaray District with Panagia of Vlahernon Church
The very picturesque location, Ayvansaray is just by Golden Horn next to Balat district where you can see the old Constantinople walls well. Also there is one of the 3 most important Greek Ortodox churces of Istanbul with holy springs called Vlaherna Saint Mary Church. It is such a beautiful tiny church where people keep coming there to find solutions for their health problems. It is written at the top of Holy Springs: “When you wash your face, wash your soul too.”
Meeting Point: Cafe in front of Chora Church by the ticket office
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