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Istanbul Byzantine Sightseeing Tour

Trip at a Glance

  • Locations

    Istanbul, Turkey

  • Activities

    Heritage-History Tour, Sightseeing

  • Price
    Custom Price
  • Duration

    6-8 hours

  • Departure Day(s) and Time(s)

    Pick up and drop off from/to hotels

  • Starting Location

    Pick up and drop off from/to hotels

  • Price Includes

    Pick up and drop off from/to hotels, Services of licenced, English speaking tour guide, Admission fees for the mentioned museums. Not included in price: Expenses of personal nature, Tips for the tour guide/driver, Lunch, Anything unless specified being included

  • Notes

    To make this tour more cost effective for smaller groups we did not include a private vehicle cost but commercial taxi fare is added in our prices up to 2 people. Therefore a half day vehicle (10 or 12 seater van) cost is included in our prices for groups with 3 or more people.

Highlights

  • Byzantine Wonders Tour gives visitors the chance to explore the majestic examples of the Byzantine architecture, engineering and mosaic art at its climax.
  • This tour includes the Kariye (Chora) Museum (The Church of St. Savior in Chora) and the Great Palace Mosaic Museum (Istanbul Mosaic Museum).
  • See the Hippodrome monuments!

Guide

Trip Info

The Hipodrome of Constantinople

The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a crucian venue in the past for chariot races and other traditional spectator sports; but also served as the platform for many significant political turning points in Byzantine history as well. This area has the notable Serpent Column, as well as the Constantine Column (the Walled Obelisk), and the Obelisk of Theodosius (the Egyptian Obelisk).

Today the area of the Hippodrome square is known as the Sultan Ahmet Square (Sultan Ahmet Meydani in Turkish).

The Museum of Hagia Sophia

The cathedral of Holy Wisdom or Divine Wisdom, served as the Eastern Orthodox Cathedral between 562-1204, the Catholic Church Cathedral between 1204-1261, again as the Eastern Orthodox Cathedral between 1261-1453, then as an Imperial Mosque between 1453-1617. The building has been an impressive museum since 1935. Being famous for its massive dome, impressive icons and mosaics are remarkable works of Byzantine art and gives a truly celestial feeling to its visitors. Sightseeing here is highly recommended.

The Underground (Basilica) Cistern

Basilica Cistern Medusa Head, Istanbul, Turkey. Known as Yerebatan Sarayi (Sunken Palace) or Yerebatan Sarnici (Sunken Cistern) in Turkish, it was built in the 6th century during the reign of Justinian I (ruled between 527-565) and it is a beautiful example of Byzantine engineering. This cistern was the largest of several cisterns that lie beneath the old city of Istanbul.

Kariye (Chora Church) Museum

The Church of the Holy Savior in Chora (Chora refers to an area outside the city walls of Constantinople), today known as the Chora Museum or Kariye Museum, is one of the most beautiful examples of a Byzantine Church which used to be part of a monastery complex. The church was converted into a mosque in the beginning of the 16th century and became a museum in 1948. Some of the finest and most well preserved mosaics and frescoes decorates inside the church. The scenes portray life and miracles of Jesus, life of Virgin Mary and scenes from the Old Testament. Chora Church (Kariye Museum) is considered one of the most important museums for Byzantine and Christian Art.

Great Palace Mosaic Museum

Also known as Istanbul Mosaic Museum, Great Palace Mosaic Museum is located very close to the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) and houses mosaics from the Byzantine period which were used to decorate the pavement of the courtyard of a peristyle court. The mosaics were unearthed during the excavations at the site of the Great Palace of Constantinople.

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