Balat
Activities

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Our most recommended Balat Activities

Istanbul: Old City Half-Day Bike Tour

1. Istanbul: Old City Half-Day Bike Tour

Explore Istanbul by bike and see some of the most beautiful sights of the city while burning off some calories. You will ride your bike through palaces, mosques, churches, parks, and the most characteristic districts of historic Istanbul, and including Eminönü. Depart from Balat, ride to Eminönü and admire the Galata Bridge, New Mosque, and Spice Bazaar. Look across the Golden Horn to the district of Beyoglu. Ride along the waterfront to Gülhane Park, an oasis of peace extending over the slope of Topkapı Palace. Leaving the park, catch a glimpse of the former gate of the Grand Vizier's residence. Take a short ride to Sultanahmet Park and see the city’s iconic St. Sophia and Blue Mosque. Run the full lap of the Hippodrome, just like the Roman horse-chariots used to, and admire the obelisks that dominate the street. Pass through its imposing gates of Topkapı Palace, the magnificent residence of the sultans, and proceed downhill to the Marmara waterfront. Here you will see some still-standing stretches of the Theodosian walls, which once protected the city. Some more thrusting on the pedals takes you to the Süleyman complex, considered the masterpiece of the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. Next stop is the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest closed markets in the world. Here you can lose yourself in the maze of galleries and bargain for handmade carpets and antiques. Continue downhill to Eminönü, and proceed back to Balat.

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Istanbul: 6-Hour Byzantine Tour Along the Golden Horn

2. Istanbul: 6-Hour Byzantine Tour Along the Golden Horn

Want to discover the Istanbul of Byzantine Constantinople? Have you finished the famous sites in Sultanahmet and ready to walk in areas where tourists do not go? Then this Byzantine Istanbul (Constantinople) tour along the Golden Horn will be the perfect choice for you. The vastness of the vision and boldness of the design of Byzantine era Constantinople is expressed through the Hagia Sophia located in Sultanahmet but medieval Constantinople around the Golden Horn offers more information. Poke around forgotten corners just over this hauntingly beautiful inlet – the Golden Horn and walk to see Constantinople before the Ottoman Conquest of 1453. Your Byzantine Istanbul Constantinople tour will start with a ferry ride from Eminonu or Karakoy zigzaging both sides of the Golden Horn to end in Ayvansaray. Ayvansaray is where Constantinople officially ended, so you’ll see and walk along the mighty Byzantine walls of Theodosius from the 5th century. Your first visit will be to an extraordinary Greek Orthodox Church – Mary Blachernae. The only church in the whole world where there’s a service on a Friday morning. Built on a sacred water source, the church is a pilgrimage site for the Greek people in Istanbul. Climb the 7th hill of Istanbul as you make your way to one of the oldest Byzantine palaces from the 13th century (Tekfur Sarayi). The highlight of the trip will be the famous Chora, the Byzantine marvel of mosaics and frescoes. Then, walk your way back through Balat which houses one of Istanbul’s surviving mediaeval synagogues and trendiest houses that are now enjoying their second or even third type of use. In Fener, you will see the Greek Orthodox patriarchate housing a column, which is believed to have been used for the binding and flogging of Jesus in Jerusalem.

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Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

3. Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

If you are interested in visiting a functioning Byzantine church or seeing the only church in the world constructed entirely of iron and steel, then do not miss this full-day walking tour through Fener and Balat in Istanbul. The name Fener is derived from a Greek word 'Fanari,' meaning 'lantern' or 'lighthouse' in Turkish, and this district was made up of predominantly Romaic (Greek Orthodox) families up until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, this UNESCO-project filled site is known as the part of Istanbul where the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is situated. On this tour you'll hear the story of Phanariotes who served as dragomans to the Ottoman government and to foreign embassies. Following the included lunch, you will visit Balat, which is located on the southern shores of the Golden Horn. It is one of the Jewish districts where the people re-settled during the time of the Ottoman Empire. We will take you through Balat, where you will find yourself walking down intriguing streets, full of color and life. Synagogues, Armenian churches, Romaic churches, Byzantine remnants, and Ayazmas are all part of the adventure.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Balat

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What people are saying about Balat

We were very privileged indeed to have Çetin as our tour guide who’s very knowledgeable and deeply passionate of what he does. He covered many aspects of our walks beyond our expectations and kept us engaged all the way through! We were also impressed and humbled to be able to view some hidden treasures/sites through his excellent contacts following his many years of experience as a tour guide. We’d definitely highly recommend him and the company for such a memorable experience in Istanbul. Thank you once again! Helena and Liane

So glad we took that tour! It turned out, it was only the 3 of us with my wife and Adnan - our guide. It was a marvelous 3h experience. Adnan is extremely versed in the history and culture of Istanbul/Constantinople, and a great human being. The tour was a pleasure, and the tips we got from him about local restaurants and places to visit were priceless! Warmly recommend this tour to anybody who has checked out the main attractions in town and wants to experience its authentic and vibrant nature.

Actually, I live in Istanbul:) And I already visited Fener and Balat many times. I booked this tour for my 12-year-old nephew who lives in Dubai. He loves taking this kind of tour. Although I thought that I know those neighborhoods as a local man, I understand I didn't know :) Many thanks to our guide Mr. Cetin for his excellent knowledge. And thanks to Ms. Arzu for her good communication.

Our guide Mr. Adnan was helpful with historic stories that local people could deliver. This is an exceptional route that we can enjoy Byzantine relics. I had such an unexpected yet wonderful experience. I hope I can actually visit Blachernae Palace when the restoration is complete.

Amazing walk off the beaten track through Balat neighborhood. Sabih was showing us the most amazing places such as synagogues, churches and the patriarch of Greek Orthodoxy. All COVID conform. Highly recommended!!