Meet your guide at your central Istanbul hotel and begin your Constantinople small-group guided tour in Istanbul. Buckle up in your air-conditioned minivan and head to the neighborhood of Sarachane located on the European side. As you cruise, travel back in time and hear Constantinople’s history when it was the lively capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
Arrive in Sarachane and take a walk through the carved remains of St Polyeuktos church. Learn how this church was built during the 6th century and was considered one of the most important Christian sanctuaries. Continue to the Church of Pantocrator and hear how this monastery church, built in the 12 century, was converted to a mosque. See its ancient cistern and gain insight into why this Byzantine landmark is so significant.
Next, visit Fethiye Mosque formerly Pammakaristos Church and see its funerary chapel’s stunning array of Byzantine mosaics. After leaving this 12th century church with your guide, head to Istanbul’s eldest standing church, the Monastery Chapel of St John the Forerunner. Here, relax at a local eatery and savor a 2-course lunch usually consisting of soup or salad with a meat and eggplant entree.
After eating, make your way to Chora Church also known as the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora renown for its Byzantine era art. Enter with your guide and marvel at distinguished mosaics and detailed frescoes that exemplify Christ’s life.
Continue with a walk through the kingly Tekfur Palace (Palace of the Porphyrogenitus), home to royalty until the 15th century when the Ottoman Empire began its reign. Wander through archways, around courtyards, and admire the elegant façade. Then, listen as your guide creates an atmosphere of a place that was formerly known for houses, dungeons, and immense gardens. As your tour come to an end, hop back in your minivan and return to your hotel.