Istanbul's Christian Heritage
(Prices are per person and in USD)
Note: Minimum three days' advance reservation is needed, as special permission is required at some sites; Danytur will ask for extra copies of participants’ passports to obtain permission(s). Due to possible increased security,, some sites may be closed to public admission on the day of the visit.
Closures: Hagia Sofia is closed on Monday, and Chora Church (Church of St. Savior) is closed on Wednesday.
Included visits to: Hagia Sophia Museum, Blachernae (Tekfur) Palace, Chora Church, Pierre Loti, Panagia of Blachernae Church, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Fener
Duration: 8 Hours
Next, we visit the Hagia Sophia Museum (Aya Sofya), constructed in 537 A.D. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered to be one of the most magnificent structures ever constructed, and is the fourth-largest in the world. The Hagia Sophia symbolizes the collective power of the Eastern Holy Roman Empire; it was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman period before being declared a museum by Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
We continue with a panoramic drive, past the ancient city fortification walls of Istanbul, and see the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus. We'll then arrive at the ruins of Blachernae (Tekfur) Palace, which was the main royal residence during the last two centuries of the Byzantine era. We continue on to Chora Church (Church of St. Savior). The Chora Church is not as large as other Byzantine churches of Istanbul, but for what it lacks in size, it makes up for in the beauty of its near-perfect mosaics. Afterwards, we proceed to panoramic Pierre Loti Hill for lunch on our own.
Then, we continue onto the Panagia of Blachernae Church, which was the most-celebrated shrine of the Virgin Mary in Constantinople. The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Fener is our last stop today. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was established here in 1601 as the administrative center of the Orthodox Christian church, and remains so today.
This private tour includes: