Spend a half-day discovering the historical remains of Christianity's traces in the heart of Istanbul. From Byzantine monasteries to ancient ruins, this holy tour gives you first hand documentation of Istanbul's importance in history.
What to Expect
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.
- Private A/C transportation
- Donations to churches
- Museum entrance fee
- Private guiding in chosen language
- V.A.TAX (18%)
- Free pick-up/drop off service from/to central located hotels
Know Before You Go
St. Chora is closed on Wednesdays
• After booking, you need to call the local supplier in order to learn exact time and free shuttle availability.
• Pick-up is only available for centrally located Istanbul hotels. When verifying your booking, your local supplier will advise you on alternative meeting points for hotels which are not accessible.
• Free shuttle pick-up is offered between 08:00 and 9:00 or between 13:00 and 14:00 (depending on the location of your hotel and the time you booked - morning/afternoon tour), and takes 45 to 60 minutes.