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From EUR 60
Tour Type: Private & Small Group Tour
Duration: 8 hours approx.
Experience the fascinating heritage of the Byzantine Empire with our detailed private Istanbul tour, which explores many of the ancient churches, monasteries and palaces of this powerful civilisation. Our knowledgeable guide will lead you on a leisurely walk through these captivating buildings, recounting the hidden secrets of their history, architecture and decorative features.
One of our many tour highlights is the Church of Saint Polyeuctus. Although it is now only a ruin, this building was once the largest church in Constantinople. Learn about the noblewoman who built it and discover her inscription on the walls of the church. Many of the elaborate sculptures taken from the church can be viewed in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
During our day we visit the monastery and Church of Christ Pantokrator. Built by a Byzantine Empress, this monastery is over a thousand years old. Here you will see an example of the typical recessed brick masonry of the period.
Our tour of ancient Istanbul will include a stop at the Aspar Cistern, a huge open reservoir dating from the 5th Century, which was one of the largest, built to feed the city’s water supply. Your walking tour will also encompass a visit to Pammakaristos Church, one of the most famous churches of the Byzantine period. You will be astonished by the sheer beauty of its side chapel, with its elegant mosaic panel and central dome. This stunning building incorporates the largest number of mosaics in Istanbul.
As you continue your tour, your guide will include a short walk to Tekfur Palace, the only building of its kind to survive in Istanbul. Dating from the late 13th Century, this palace served as an imperial residence, but over the centuries has also been used as a menagerie, brothel and poorhouse.
Moving on, we visit the monastery and chapel of Saint John the Baptist, once one of the most important buildings in Constantinople. It was destroyed by the Crusaders and again by the Turks, but the cathedral has survived, making it possibly the oldest church in the city.
This fascinating tour would not be complete without a visit to the remarkable Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, which is often considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine architecture. The interior of this church is simply captivating. The colourful mosaics and finely detailed frescoes depict a number of Biblical scenes which are utterly spectacular.