Art & Museums

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Our most recommended Balat Art & Museums

Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

1. Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

Explore Istanbul according to your own interests on a tailor-made sightseeing tour. A licensed guide will meet you in your hotel or port and work with you to create an itinerary that suits you best, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul. Marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, such as Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern on the first day. On day two, take the public ferry to Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. From here, visit Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and the spice market. Day three takes you on a walk through the streets of Fener-Balat neighboorhood. Enjoy a cable car ride and soak up views of Pierre Loti Hill, then visit Chora Church to see the mosaics and frescoes.

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Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

2. 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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Istanbul: Off-the-Beaten-Track Museums Tour

3. Istanbul: Off-the-Beaten-Track Museums Tour

Your first stop will be the Suleymaniye Mosque, which was built on the order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and constructed by the great Ottoman architect Sinan. The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1557. The mosque is modeled in part on the style of a Byzantine basilica, particularly the Hagia Sophia, which was perhaps a conscious move on the part of the sultan to create a continuity and a symbolic connection with the city's past. Driving along the city walls will end at one of the oldest and most important churches in the city, the Church of Chora, which has fascinating wall paintings telling the life of Christ in an historical order. Even though the building itself is small, the meaning was great for Byzantines as being found at the borders of the city and welcoming the visitors. Today the environment is restored and this is a good place to spend time with local artisans and wooden houses. After the church, you will have a tea and coffee break at one of the most splendid spots of Istanbul, with beautiful views over the Golden Horn and Pierre Loti Hill. Following this you will resuming driving along the shores of the Golden Horn through the towns Fener and Balat, which are the old Greek and Jewish living sites. Fener Orthodox Patriarchate is in this area as well.  Following lunch, your next destination will be the Dolmabahce Palace, the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans with 365 rooms and 22 saloons. Famous for the great collection of European antiquity, furniture, and a 4.5 ton chandelier. This will be your last stop, and after this visit you will be driven back to your hotel.

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Istanbul: Jewish Heritage and Museum Full-Day Tour

4. Istanbul: Jewish Heritage and Museum Full-Day Tour

Explore the Jewish history of Istanbul on a full-day private tour with multilingual guide. You will be met off your cruise ship in Istanbul Port (or from your hotel on request), and transferred by Mercedes vehicle to the heart of the city. Go to the Balat district to see the Ahrida Synagogue, one of the oldest and most prominent of Istanbul’s synagogues. Visit the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Karaköy, built in response to an increase in the Jewish population in the Galata neighborhood. Continue to Ashkenazi Synagogue, the only active Ashkenazi synagogue in Istanbul open to visits. At the heart of Jewish Istanbul, in the old Galata district, you will visit the Jewish Museum, established in 2001 on the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Sephardic Jews to the Ottoman Empire. Remodeled in the former Zülfaris Synagogue, the museum features artifacts, relics, letters and torah scrolls that tell the story of the Jews in Istanbul and Anatolia. There will also be time to see the former mosque and Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia, now considered one of the world’s architectural masterpieces. End in the Grand Bazaar, and bargain for handmade carpets, jewelry and leather souvenirs before your transfer back to the port (or your hotel on request).

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Other Sightseeing Options in Balat

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What people are saying about Balat

Our guide was punctual, flexible, polite, knowledgeable w good command of English. We discussed my wishes before the trip and he was able to show us everything. We went to see Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topika Palace first courtyard, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Galata Bridge, Galata Tower, and a few sights along the Main Street leading to Taksim Square. It was interesting to see the old and the new parts of Istanbul. We did a lot of walking, along w tram and metro. My kids who are teenagers got a bit bored half way. This is my first private tour, it delivered my expectation as i only had one day. However compared to free guided tour guides which i had quite a few tours with in various cities, I have to say the free guides are more animated and have a lot more interesting stories to keep the group excited and concentrated at all time. Cost aside, take a private guide if you want a customized tour w lot of personal attention. Go w the free tour if you want more animation.

Wowwwwwww i am blown away with this experience. Murat has been the best tour guide ive had in turkey and probably the best around the world. His knowledge is amazing, speaks Spanish perfect. His attention to details is amazing. He is so professional and well spoken. He treated us like family and never rush or nothing. He was very punctual in everything. I will miss turkey and my friend murat which we had for 3 days. This 3 days of turkey in spanish was a life long memory i will always cherish. Murat and turkey the best. Highly recommended. Do yourself a favor get this tour and ask for murat.

My experience with the chosen tours has been magnificent, mainly due to the professionalism of the assigned guide Bulut who has shown me all the important monuments at my own pace, without haste and with a perfect language since not all guides speak Spanish as well as he does. I will recommend this company and especially this Bulut guide to all my friends in Spain. It is important to be able to establish good communication with the guides and for that, the training, education and knowledge of Bulut have been fundamental to improve my experience in Istanbul. Thanks for everything Bulut

Outstanding 3 days with Semih as my guide to Istanbul, saw all the major sites, but also lots of places that I probably wouldn't have got to without a guide. Semih's had lots of information on each site, and I came away with a much better understanding of the history of the city. This was the best way to get to learn about the city

An unforgettable, impressive experience. Tour guide Ayla is just SENSATIONAL .... I can only recommend it !!