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Culture & history

Our most recommended Balat Culture & history

Istanbul: Fener Balat Half-day Guided Walking Tour

1. Istanbul: Fener Balat Half-day Guided Walking Tour

See another side of Istanbul in an area of the city with Greek, Armenian, Jewish, and Bulgarian heritage. Stroll around Fener and Balat districts, which are popular with locals for having breakfast and coffee. Pass by churches, synagogues, mosques, and many other historic sites. Begin your walking tour in the district of Fener to see a Greek church and a Greek primary school, followed by lots of colorful stairs. Then, see the house of Romanian prince Dimitrie Cantemir, the Church of Saint Mary of the Mongols, built in 1266, and Phanar Greek Orthodox College. After this, go to the Panagia Paramythia Church. Continue to the district of Balat, where you can see the Bulgarian Church, also known as the Iron Church due to the cast iron used in its production. Next, check out the famous timber houses in the area. Finish up your tour at the Ahrida Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in the city, dating back to the 15th century. Finally, enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee to end your walking trip of these historical districts.

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

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

Explore Istanbul according to your own interests on a tailor-made sightseeing tour. Meet your guide at your hotel or port and work together to create an itinerary that suits you best, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul. On 1st day, marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, such as Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia. On 2nd day, take the public ferry to Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. From here, visit Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, Galata area and the Spice Market. On 3rd day, guide 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 Iron Church, and see the Suleymaniye Mosque. You can create your own itinerary with your tour guide on tour day, to have an idea, here you can see our suggested tour itineraries are below; Day 1 - Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome Square, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace Highlights, Grand Bazaar. Day 2 - Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, Cicek Passage, Galata Tower (from outside) Day 3 - Suleymaniye Mosque, Fener and Balat Districts, St. Stephen Church (Iron Church), Pierre Lotti Panoramic Hill, Rahmi Koc Museum (or alternative options) Important Notes: - Skip the line service is not available for active mosques - there is a queue for the entrance. - On Fridays, Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque will be visited from outside because of the worship. - If one of the mosques is not visited, Basilica Cistern will be visited as a replacement. - For the tours that start later than 11 am, kindly note that you may have to skip one/a couple of sites as the sites are closed by 7 pm. Your guide will adjust the program according to your priorities.

Istanbul: Fener, Balat, Old Greek and Jewish Quarter Tour

3. Istanbul: Fener, Balat, Old Greek and Jewish Quarter Tour

Meet your guide at the Itimat Fabrika Satis yero/magazasi at the the entry gate of the Spice Market in the heart of Istanbul. From here you’ll take the local tram to Fener to discover Istanbul’s colicuo house left from the Greek and Jewish who lived in the area for centuries had left in 1980s. Travel by public tram to the colorful Fener and Balat district, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and at one time home to Istanbul’s Ottoman Orthodox and Jewish residents. See traces of Ottoman life, including wooden houses, mosques, churches, and synagogues, standing together and demonstrating the multicultural and religious ways of the Ottoman Empire. After walking along the cobblestoned streets of the Fener/Balat World Heritage area, colorful houses and stairs. You will continue along the historic Byzantine city walls that date to the 4th century and the story of how Ottoman concurred the Constantinople in 15 century.

Private Transfer From or To Istanbul Airport (IST)

4. Private Transfer From or To Istanbul Airport (IST)

Waiting to receive at meeting point to take you to your destination comfortably and safely with our Vip Vehicles which have air conditioning, TV, free wifi and water. You don't have to struggle to find a car after you arrive and you don't have to wait in long lines. Use your time efficiently and enjoy your comfortable transfer by taking advangate of our special service. Let us get you to your destination on time!

Istanbul: Eurasia Bike & Boat Half-Day Tour

5. Istanbul: Eurasia Bike & Boat Half-Day Tour

Meet your tour leader in the historical neighborhood of Balat, in the European side of the city. Choose your bike for the day then board the public boat to Uskudar. From the boat, admire views of the city skyline and take photos of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Maiden Tower, Süleymaniye Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, and more. Arrive in Uskudar, which is on the Asian side of the city. Hop on your bike and pedal to Fenerbahce Park, stopping along the way to take in the sights and listen to your guide share information about the area. Once you’ve worked up a sweat from the bike ride, enjoy a refreshing cup of Turkish tea or coffee at a local cafe and admire the view of Princes’ Islands while you relax. Jump back on your bike and pedal to Kadıköy Pier for a boat ride to Karakoy. Next, cross over the Golden Horn Bay via the Metro Bridge then head back towards the tour’s meeting point in Balat. Tours usually finish around 2 PM, depending on the group’s cycling tempo. Afterwards, spend the day exploring the vibrant streets of Balat at your own leisure, and enjoy some fresh, local cuisine from one of the many street-side food vendors. During the experience all of the metioned monuments are only to be seen from outside.

Istanbul Walking Tour: Discovering Old Town

6. Istanbul Walking Tour: Discovering Old Town

Join us on a small group tour of Istanbul that takes you to some of the city's most iconic and interesting sights. We will begin our tour at Blue Mosque , a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. Admire the exquisite blue Iznik tiles that lend the mosque its name, and learn about the harmonious blend of cultures and religions that has shaped this enduring symbol of Istanbul.Next we will visit Hagia Sophia , a symbol of architectural brilliance and a testament to the city's rich past. As you stroll through its hallowed halls, your expert guide will unveil the stories of emperors and civilizations that have left their mark on this iconic structure.Next We will visit Basilica Cistern an underground reservoir constructed during the Roman era. Marvel at the hauntingly beautiful Medusa heads and listen as your guide regales you with tales of this enigmatic subterranean wonder. Next, we will visit the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Here, you can browse and shop for souvenirs and traditional Turkish goods, and perhaps haggle with the vendors for the best price.

Istanbul: Fener and Balat Guided Walking Tour

7. Istanbul: Fener and Balat Guided Walking Tour

Discover the hidden treasures of Istanbul as you embark on a small group tour through the historically rich neighborhoods of Fener and Balat. Located along the scenic Golden Horn, these areas offer a glimpse into the authentic essence of the city, away from the usual tourist paths. With the guidance of a knowledgeable local expert, immerse yourself in the captivating stories and cultural significance of these enchanting districts. Leave behind the bustling Sultanahmet area and begin your adventure with a picturesque ferry ride. Traverse the sparkling waters of the Golden Horn, witnessing the iconic Istanbul skyline and gaining a deeper appreciation for the city's growth since the 1453 conquest. Your first stop is Ayvansaray, the official endpoint of Constantinople. Here, you'll stroll along the mighty Byzantine walls dating back to the fifth century. Listen attentively as your guide regales you with tales of the legendary siege between the Ottoman and Byzantine armies. Next, prepare to be amazed by an extraordinary sight—the Greek Orthodox Church of Mary Blachernae. This unique structure is the only church in the world where a service is held every Friday morning. Built atop a sacred water source, it holds deep significance for Greek pilgrims. Your expert guide will share captivating stories and shed light on the church's historical importance in Istanbul. As you venture into Balat, be enchanted by the vibrant colors, bustling street life, and charming cobblestone streets adorned with crisscrossing washing lines. The neighborhood has a rich cultural tapestry, shaped by the presence of Sephardic Jews from Spain, Greek and Armenian Christians, and Muslims since 1492. Take a moment to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, observing the daily activities of the locals. Your journey culminates in Fener, where you'll discover the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. Marvel at the column housed within the Patriarchate, believed to have been used in the binding and flogging of Jesus in Jerusalem. This sacred site holds immense significance for the 300 million Orthodox people worldwide. Delve into discussions about Mehmet II's decision to preserve the site in Istanbul after conquering Constantinople, its importance in the Christian world, and its parallels with the Catholic Church. End your tour with enough knowledge to be independent in the area so you can stay longer and enjoy it more.

Private Transfer From Istanbul Airport

8. Private Transfer From Istanbul Airport

Waiting to receive at meeting point to take you to your destination comfortably and safely with our Vip Vehicles which have air conditioning, TV, free wifi and water. You don't have to struggle to find a car after you arrive and you don't have to wait in long lines. Use your time efficiently and enjoy your comfortable transfer by taking advangate of our special service. Let us get you to your destination on time!

Istanbul: Jewish District 3-Hour Walking Tour

9. Istanbul: Jewish District 3-Hour Walking Tour

Istanbul has had a vibrant Jewish community for more than 1,000 years. After the Turkish conquest of Istanbul, Sultan Mehmet II encouraged immigration to repopulate the city. Over half a million Jews persecuted in Spain and Portugal were encouraged to establish themselves within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. In Istanbul, the new immigrants settled mostly near Galata – a quarter on the northern bank of the Golden Horn – where a Jewish community had existed since the early days of the Ottoman Era in Istanbul. On this tour, you'll walk around Galata, exploring its intriguing streets full of colorful life. The tour includes synagogues, the Jewish Museum, Jewish Apartments, the amazing story of Abraham Kamondo, and other Jewish heritage sites. Monday – Friday:  Jewish Museum, Ashkenazi Synagogue, Schneidertemple Synagogue, and outer visits to Georgian Synagogue, Neve Shalom Synagogue, Italian Synagogue, Jewish Apartments, Kamondo Buildings.

Soap Opera tour: Golden Horn via Public Ferry – Half Day

10. Soap Opera tour: Golden Horn via Public Ferry – Half Day

Back during the Byzantine and Ottoman eras, the Golden Horn was primarily used as a trading port and a residential area populated by Spanish, Armenians, and Greeks. Today, the Golden Horn (aptly named due to its horn shape) is known as one of the world’s best natural harbors, with stunning views and rich, historical sites. This half-day tour will start in the afternoon in front of Mado Karakoy. From there, you’ll take the ferry to Fener and visit St. George’s Cathedral, a neo-classical church that dates back to the 16th century. Admire the cathedral’s lavish interiors before heading to Balak Antik Cafe. Whip out your phone and camera as you take in the highly Instagrammable and colorful cafe decorations. Feel free to order a coffee or snack before strolling along to see the colorful Balat houses. These 200+ year-old residential houses are famous for their bright hues in a variety of rainbow colors. Up next, visit Ahrida Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in Istanbul. Marvel at the fascinating Ottoman Baroque architecture and learn how this synagogue remains a glorious example of the rich history of Turkish Jews in the area. From there, board a ferry and head to Eyup where you’ll take a cable car ride to Pierre Loti Hill. Named after a famous French writer, the Pierre Loti Cafe is known for its breathtaking views of the cape. Take in the stunning views of the golden horn and order a drink or two before heading back and taking the ferry to Karakoy.

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What people are saying about Balat

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 12 reviews

Kübra was the most enthusiastic, passionate and best guide we could have had for our 3 hours tour. She made the tour so entertaining. This tour was a lot better than what is described and very good value for money. Kübra made our morning exceptional and unique.

The tour was very interesting and fun. The tour guide Kubra was super friendly, passionate about her job and very well informed! She gave us 100% of the Fener-Balat experience and extremely helpful tips about the whole of Istanbul! I would 200% recommend.

The tour was exceptionally tour guide Kirby was great! Very friendly and knew the history very well. She gave us time to take photos and was great at storytelling. I met a few people on this tour as well so it’s great for solo traveler.

Kubra is the most passionate guide we ever had, on any tour, and we travel a lot. She knows so much, brings it in a way you cannot stop listening, it went by way too soon, would do any tour with her.

Hello, we had a great guide Reha. Perfect nothing to say