Balat
Meet the Locals

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Istanbul: Guided Off-the-Beaten-Path Experience

1. Istanbul: Guided Off-the-Beaten-Path Experience

Your experience will begin with the ancient Hippodrome, where thousands of spectators were entertained and kept happy by the chariot races. Whilst there you will witness a cistern which was recently discovered in 2010, and you can navigate through the labyrinth of streets and passages that are home to more than 4,000 shops, which is known as the Grand Bazaar. You will soon take a break to experience traditional Turkish tea or coffee and a popular Turkish pastry called borek, all while enjoying the ancient practice of hookah at a favorite local hangout. Following that you'll visit Istanbul’s largest mosque, titled the Suleymaniye Mosque. It is an Ottoman Imperial mosque located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, and is breathtaking due to both its size and interior beauty. From the mosque you will visit a Spice Bazaar which is full of colors and the powerful aromas of exotic spices. Istanbul is a city which has a rich religious history, and is now composed of many different religions. Your next stop will be the Church of St. George, which since the 1600s has been the location of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and is recognized as the spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox Religion.

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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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Istanbul: Tour of Garipce Village, Rumeli Fortress and Balat

3. Istanbul: Tour of Garipce Village, Rumeli Fortress and Balat

Enjoy a really local tour of Istanbul with a guide who has an in-depth knowledge of the city. The full-day tour begins at around 08.30 with a pick up at your hotel, followed by breakfast in a small village located on the shores of the Black Sea. Visit a 17th-century castle and enjoy the amazing views. Stop to admire the Rumeli Fortress that looks out over the Bosporus – one of the unique monuments of Istanbul. Continue on with a drive to the Asian side of the city, where you’ll visit the Kucuksu Palace, used as a hunting lodge and summer mansion during the 18th century. Your guide will also take you to see the Balat/Fener area, which was the center of Greek Orthodox life in the time of the Ottoman Empire.

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What people are saying about Balat

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 2 reviews

I can only recommend you this tour, your guide is very nice and he knows the stuff he's talking about, he'll lead you around some famous sites but also covering secret sites invisible to the tourist eye. This tour is very long (compared to most others), it is very cheap for the amount that you see and you get a locally very experienced guide that gives you all kinds of advises for your istanbul experience (from food to sites). This guide has been the best tour that i have ever booked (thank you oz) and i can only highly (!!!) recommend you, reading this comment, to go check it out :) with my regards

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.

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!!

very good day in the company of ozur. very good guide who knows the city very well.