Istanbul is city that is so steeped in history it seems that there is a wonder of the ancient world just waiting around every corner. The fact that these ancient relics are almost hidden in the modern city and bustling sidewalks is one that can leave you unaware of what it is you are actually witnessing. This is where this tour comes in to play.
This is the perfect way to fully explore some of the many places of interest that Istanbul has to offer whilst accompanied by a friendly expert local who will be able to help you fully appreciate the wonders abound in this large metropolis.
On joining this tour you will experience the sights, sounds and smells of Istanbul in a morning. You will experience the bustle and haggling that ultimately takes place in the rabbit warren like Grand Bazaar. Here it really is priceless to be accompanied by someone in the know as you will see the indoor market stretches in front of you as far as the eye can see. The vibrant colours will astound you and the wafts of freshly ground herbs and spices are a treat for the nose!
You cannot say that you have seen Istanbul until you have wandered into the Sultan Ahmet Mosque which is also known locally as the Blue Mosque due to its enormous blue dome that silhouettes the Istanbul skyline. Or indeed, until you have walked across the site of the ancient hippodrome where gladiators and sportsmen partook in local games. Perhaps the quintessential moment is purchasing a simit (bagel with sesame) from a street vendor or in the winter months sipping a hot ‘Salep’ (a drink made from Orchids). You will be able to do all this and more on the Byzantine Relics tour.
In 2023, price of Istanbul Byzantine Relics Tour is 50 € for adults, 40 € for children between age 8 and 12, free for children under 7 years old.
You will be picked up from your hotel provided you are staying in the city centre and taken to the meeting point where you will join your small walking group and local guide. For those of you staying further afield please do get in touch to confirm the meeting point and how to travel there.
You will visit the Hippodrome and see the monuments located on the ancient site. The fountain that was commissioned by Wilhelm II of Germany as a present to the Sultan at the time Sultan Abdulhamid II, the Egyptian Obelisk which is around 3700 years old and was brought from Egypt and re-erected in Constantinople around 390 Ad, and the Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine erected by the emperor of the same name in approximately 324 AD. Of course your guide will inform you of more facts and information regarding these monuments and will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
You will then visit the Blue Mosque which needs no explanation. Please keep in mind that this is a functioning place of worship and as such appropriate dress should be worn.
Following the Mosque you will enter another place of worship that has been both Church and Mosque once upon a time, Hagia Sophia. This has recently returned to functioning as a mosque and is home to religious mosaics and artefacts. The building itself is to be marvelled at and once inside you can truly appreciate the archaeological know how that was used to create this masterpiece.
The final visit in the tour is the Grand Bazaar which is a huge roved market place where you will find streets and streets full of Eastern goods. If you are looking for leather, gold, tiles, pottery or indeed almost anything under the sun, you are sure to find it here. Whilst this is perhaps the ultimate shopping experience, don’t forget to stop a while amongst the bustle and breathe. Take a look up at the original roofing and the tiling that can be found lining the walls as this is a shopping centre with over 4000 shops that has served the people of Istanbul for centuries.
Once you have had your fill of shopping you will leave your guide to continue exploring on your won. The tour ends here and you a free to continue discovering the city or return to your hotel. Please note that there is no return service.
All entrance fees and local taxes and service charges are included in your tour price, pick up by coach as well as your professional guide.
This tour runs every morning and lasts approximately 4 hours. Please note that entrance to that entrance to the Blue Mosque and to Hagia Sophia is not possible on Fridays due to it being a holy day. The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays and so you will be able to visit the Arasta Bazaar in its place.
Cost of Istanbul Byzantine Relics Tour is 50 € for adults, 40 € for children between age 8 and 12, free for children under 7 years old in 2023.
There is so much to see and appreciate in Istanbul that the only way to get the most out of your visit is by listening to your guide who will give you more information and local knowledge than you can find online or in a travel guide.
While the places visited are relatively close to each other you should be prepared with good walking shoes. Of course there will be a chance to grab a drink or snack on route and your guide will be happy to set a steady and easy pace.
Whilst there is nothing that you have to pay extra for it may be a good idea to carry your wallets or purses for any shopping you may choose to do. You may wish to buy a drink or snack along the way and of course you are welcome to tip your guide if you so choose.