Guided tour

Istanbul Half-Day Historic Tour of Byzantium

3.8 / 5

9 reviews

Activity provider: Gray Line Turkey

Istanbul Half-Day Historic Tour of Byzantium

Activity provider: Gray Line Turkey

From US$ 34.08 per person

Take a trip back in time, to the days of Istanbul's Byzantine era. Visit the Byzantine city walls, the Kariye Museum, the Church of Panagia of Blachernae, Anemas Dungeons, Tekfur Palace and many other historic sites.

About this activity

Free cancellation
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details. Learn more
Duration 4 hours
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Skip the ticket line
Live tour guide
English, German, Spanish


  • Gaze across the Bosphorous at the Golden Horn
  • Walk through the Byzantine streets of Istanbul
  • Learn about the Empire that controlled the city for over 1,000 years
  • See the Church of Panagia of Blachernae and St. Savior in Chora
  • Tour the Byzantine city walls
Full description
This 4-hour tour takes you back to the days when Istanbul was capital of the Byzantine Empire, a period of more than 1,000 years, from the 4th to the 15th-Century AD. You will start at the natural naval harbor of the Byzantines, named the Golden Horn due to its hornlike shape and golden reflection under sunshine when viewed from the hill tops. Visit the Patriarchate at Fener, the seat of Orthodox Christianity after Constantine The Great declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Continue to the Church of Panagia of Blachernae, the best known and most celebrated shrine of the Holy Virgin, famed for its “Hagiasma” (holy water) and the “Hagion Lousma” (sacred bath). You will stop at St. Savior in Chora, now the Kariye Museum, but originally a Byzantine monastery with fantastic mosaics and frescoes that portray scenes from the bible. Next you will go to Anemas Dungeons, part of the Blachernae Palace and unique in the world for its architectural structure. Used as a prison for high ranking statesmen, it consisted of 14 separate dungeons, each with 2 basements below sea-level. Tour Tekfur Palace, built in the 12th-Century, adjacent to the city walls, and the only surviving pavilion of the Blachernae Palace. Finally you will see the remains of the 5th-Century Byzantine city walls, which surrounded the acropolis of Byzantium and were 13 miles (22 kilometers) long, with 96 towers and 9 main gates.
  • Air-conditioned transportation
  • Museum entrance fees
  • Pick-up service from centrally-located hotels in Istanbul
  • Hotel drop-off
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • You must keep social distance while in vehicles
  • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
Traveler requirements
  • You are required to bring and wear a mask
  • You must fill out a travel information form

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Important information

What to bring

  • Passport or ID card

Not allowed

  • Pets
  • Smoking

Know before you go

  • A minimum of 6 people are required to operate this tour. Guaranteed departure on Tuesday afternoons.
  • After booking, you need to call the local supplier in order to learn exact time and free shuttle availability.
  • Pick-up is only available for centrally located Istanbul hotels. When verifying your booking, your local supplier will advise you on alternative meeting points for hotels which are not accessible
  • Free shuttle pick-up is offered between 13:00 and 14:00 (depending on the location of your hotel), and takes 45 to 60 minutes.
Customer reviews

Overall rating

3.8 /5

based on 9 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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An excellent tour of the Orthodox history of Istanbul.

An excellent tour guide who was very polite and patient. A comprehensive history was given. We visited three Orthodox Christian churches. The history of the buildings is equal to the relics and mosaics within the churches. This is a tour that must be completed as it compliments the Hagia Sofia. Of course the Church of Chora is the jewel in the crown. Be truly amazed at the biblical mosaics. A pilgrimage. Overall, excellent.

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June 5, 2014

I liked very much the Konstantinopol city walls and all the churches Specifically Chora is definitelly worth seeing. The mozaiks are amazing. Also the greek Red school is impressive, would be great if one Day they allowed people in to See it inside. Definity beautiful Tour, worth to take

May 7, 2019

Great guide - very clear, informative, eager to answer questions. The itinerary was very good, only sorry that the Chora church was closed.

May 11, 2022

Product ID: 18465