Tourist in Turkey » Tours Turkey Guide Mon, 18 Nov 2013 12:30:57 +0000 tr-TR hourly 1 CAPPADOCIA TOUR Wed, 10 Apr 2013 09:19:04 +0000 It is not an overstatement to say that Cappadocia is one of the most beautiful places in the world, a place where nature and history have been blended in perfect proportions. The unique landscape of Cappadocia consists in a vast plateau of soft volcanic stone which wind and water have eroded over the millennia, creating fantastic multicolored landforms. Since prehistory, people have excavated these pinnacles and spires and used them as refuges, residences, storage and places of worship. Today we can admire these astonishing examples of human ability to shape and adapt to the environment.
Being on the route of the Silk Road connecting the Western and Eastern worlds, throughout history Cappadocia has served as a bridge between civilizations. Hittites, Romans, Greeks, Seljuk and Ottomans, have left an incredibly rich cultural heritage: caravansaray, underground cities, dwellings, monasteries and sanctuaries. The rock-hewn churches of Cappadocia, with their incomparable beautiful frescos and rock-cut decorations, constitute a unique artistic and historical testimony to post-iconoclast Byzantium.
A trip to Cappadocia is a dream experience of a lifetime, something absolutely not to be missed!


Goreme Open-air Museum
Uchisar Castle
Hot-air Baloon flight
Fairy Chimneys
Underground cities
Cave dwellings of Avcilar and Cavusin
Christian rock-cut churches
Seljuk Caravansaray
Cities of Cappadocia: Avanos, Urgup etc.
Devrent Valley
Red & Pink Valley
Zelve Valley
Pigeons’ Valley

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TROY – GALLIPOLI TOUR Wed, 10 Apr 2013 09:18:40 +0000 0 BURSA TOUR Wed, 10 Apr 2013 09:17:48 +0000 Bursa is Turkey’s fourth biggest city and one of the most developed urban centers in terms of culture and economy, with a long and glorious history: it was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Bithinyan King Prusias I Cholus, “the Lame”, who gave his name to the city, and it was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire.
Today is commonly nicknamed Yesil Bursa (“Green Bursa“) due to the abundance of parks and gardens within in the urban fabric and of forests in the surrounding area. In fact, Bursa is beautifully located at the foot of Mount Uludag, a well-known ski resort. Bursa is also home of the mausoleums of early Ottoman sultans and of wonderful buildings, excellent exmples of Ottoman architecture.


Our full-day tour will start with an early pick-up from your hotel. We’ll take a ferry from Yenikapi to Yalova, on the Southern shore of the Marmara Sea. Once arrived in Yalova, we will drive through the lovely countryside until we reach Bursa. Here we will visit the Ulucami (the Great Mosque), the Green Mosque and Mausoleum and the Old Silk Market in the Covered Bazaar, the city’s most iconic landmarks. For lunch we will have a delicious Iskender kebab (“Alexander’s kebab”), a Bursa’s specialty. After lunch, we will take a cable car to Uludag Mountain, a National Park rich in flora and fauna which offers many winter and summer activities to the visitors. From the mountain we will admire beautiful views of the city and of the fertile plain below. Mount Uludag is our last stop, after that we will start our return trip with a late evening drop-off to your hotel in Istanbul.


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BLACK SEA TOUR Wed, 10 Apr 2013 09:16:17 +0000 On this tour we will discover the untouched beauty of the Black Sea region. The Black Sea coast offers magnificent landscapes, with luxuriant green forest, sandy beaches, deep blue waters and pretty fishing villages. We will spend a relaxing day, enjoying a perfect mix of nature and culture.


After pick-up from your hotel in the morning, we’ll leave behind us the bustle and the crowd of the city and head to the Northeastern area of Istanbul’s province, on the Anatolian side.
We will get to Sile, a small fishing town on the cliffs, renowned for its sandy beaches and the “Sile Bezi”, a cotton clothing factory. Here we will have a nice stroll along the seaside, from the harbour to the top of the hill where we can enjoy a good coffee while admiring the dramatic view of the black-white striped Lighthouse of Sile.
Following the coastal road on the way to Agva, we will pass through picturesque and lost-in-time villages like Kabakoz and Suayipli.
Agva is a beautifully located town rising in the middle of the Yesilcay and Goksu rivers. Upon arrival, we will take a pleasant boat cruise down the Goksu river. After contemplating the superb panorama, we will have lunch in a traditional fish restaurant. Next you will have some free time to relax on the beach or on the banks of the river.
On the return trip we will take the inland road, so we will have the chance to see the unspoilt woods of the region. Before returning to Istanbul, we will make a final stop in the forest, where we will have a tea break while swinging on a hammock. What a great way to end a fabulous trip!

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PRINCES’ ISLANDS Wed, 10 Apr 2013 09:09:02 +0000 In the past the Princes’ Islands (Turkish Adalar) served as place of exile for Byzantine princes and retreat for monks. Today these beautiful islands are famous for their green pine woods and hidden coves, the perfect place to escape Istanbul’s bustle and find quiet and peace.


After pick-up from your hotel early in the morning, we will embark on a pleasant cruise. The boat will leave the Golden Horn and cross the Marmara Sea, going around the Seraglio Point, the promontory on which the splendid Topkapi Palace rises. From the sea we will enjoy magnificent views of the archipelago and of the city, with the silhouette of Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. Upon arrival in Buyukada, the largest and most enjoyable island, we will make a tour of the island on board a horse-car, the only mean of transport allowed on the island. Riding among pine trees, we will admire lavish Ottoman mansions, refined Victorian style summer villas, flowered gardens and beaches.
After the ride we will enjoy a delicious lunch in a cozy sea-side fish restaurant and relax staring at the beautiful panorama. Then, we will take the ferry and return to your hotel in Istanbul in the evening.

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SHOPPING TOUR Wed, 27 Mar 2013 12:27:41 +0000 If you love shopping this is the perfect tour for you. On the Shopping Tour we will explore the lively bazaar and the bustling shopping districts of Istanbul offering an incredible variety of products. We will take you to the best shops, where you will have the chance to appreciate authentic and high-quality traditional products of Turkey (carpets, spices, pottery, tableware, leather goods, lamps, souvenirs, handicrafts ecc.) and buy whatever you wish getting a good deal.

Grand Bazaar (closed on Sundays)
Old Book Bazaar
Traditional Turkish tea-break
Street of Artisans (Tahtakale)
Spice Bazaar

Duration: 4 h approx.
Included: Guide service, Tea and simit (Turkish snack)
Not included: Transport, Lunch


The GRAND BAZAAR (Turkish Kapalıçarşı, meaning “Covered Bazaar”) of Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.
It was built in 1461 by order of Sultan Mehmet II. Between the XVI and XVIII century, several fires and earthquakes damaged the structure which was repeatedely restored. The current building is deeply affected by the restoration works which underwent in the XX century.
Spanning over 30 hectars, it comprises 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.

Visiting hours: 8.30 – 19; closed on Sundays

Old_Book_Bazaar_IstanbulNext to  Beyazit Square is the OLD BOOK BAZAAR (Turkish Sahaflar Carsisi), an appealing courtyard where many book shops are located. This is certainly the best place in Istanbul to look for old books and engravings. Some shops will also exchange your old books in turn of new or old books for little money. Books are not the only items for sale here, there are also stalls of postcards, rosary, stamps and coins where collectors can find very good deals. It’s quite sure that if you visit this bazaar, you will end up buying something.

After the Old Book Bazaar, we will have a pleasant TEA BREAK in a traditional place. Here we will enjoy a Turkish tea and a simit, a kind of round break covered with sesame.




With a 600 years old past, dating back to the Byzantine age, TAHTAKALE BAZAAR is Turkey’s oldest surviving shopping center. Since the Ottoman conquest, the long and narrow street which we still see today has been hosting two lines of shops selling any kind of handcrafted products: kitchenware, textiles, lamps, wooden items, wicker chests, tea-sets, stoves, hardware etc.
This is one of few places in Istanbul which have little changed since Ottoman times. Walking elbow-to-elbow with the crowd of working-class customers will make you feel the pulse of the city and give you an idea of how daily life had to be in the past. Most of the buildings are quite shabby for the artisans preserve them as they have inherited them from their forefathers.

The SPICE BAZAAR is Istanbul’s second largest covered market, after the Grand Bazaar. This bazaar is known also as “Egyptian Bazaar” due to the fact that it was built with the incomes coming from Egypt, which at the time was a province of the Ottoman Empire. The building was completed in 1660 as integral part of the neighbouring New Mosque’s complex. In fact, in the past, the money coming from the rents of the shops were used to cover the expenses of the mosque. Originally, this bazaar was dedicated to the sale of spices whereas today, under its 88 vaults, many more products are being sold:  souvenirs, sweets, food, lamps, pottery, kitchenware etc.

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MODERN TOUR Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:55:45 +0000 The Modern Tour takes place in the most cosmopolitan and lively part of Istanbul, the neighbourhood of Beyoglu. Thanks to its fortunate geography, this area has always been a thriving trade and business centre, drawning merchants from all over the world. For centuries Venetians, Genoese, Greeks, Hebrews, Armenians, Turks have lived side by side in this district, creating an incredibly rich multi-cultural heritage. Diplomats and business men built here embassies and refined buildings in western style, making of Beyoglu an elegant and modern district.
On this tour we will visit bustling squares and streets, places of worship of different religions and the massive Galata Tower. Then, we’ll end the tour with a visit to the engaging Rahmi Koc Museum.


  • Taksim Square
  • Hagia Triada Greek Orthodox Church
  • Istiklal Street – Cicek Pasaji
  • St. Antony’s Roman Catholic Church
  • Galata Tower
  • Rahmi Koc Museum (closed on Mondays)

Duration: 6 h approx.
Included: guide service
Not included: entrance fees, transport, lunch


TaksimSquare_Modern_Tour_TITTAKSIM SQUARE is considered the beating heart of Istanbul. Its name, which in Turkish means “distribution”, is due to the fact that, starting from the age of Sultan Mahmud I, this was the place where the water coming from Belgrade Forest were gathered and then distributed to the different areas of the city. In the east part of the square is located the Ataturk Cultural Centre, whereas on the opposite side rises the famous and luxury Hotel Marmara, with a panoramic restaurant.

In the centre of the square one can see the Monument of the Republic, a marble and bronze work by Italian artists Pietro Canonica (sculptor) and Giulio Mongeri (architect). It was unveiled on 8 August 1928 and it symbolizes the foundation of the Turkish Republic (1923). Portrayed in the massive sculpture are the heroes of the War of Independence, among whom Ataturk and Inonu stand out.

hagia triada_Taksim viewIn a small side street of Istiklal Caddesi, rises HAGIA TRIADA (The Holy Trinity), the grandest Greek-Orthodox church in Istanbul. It surely is one of the most important religious building constructed after the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. The temple was completed in a span of 13 years, between 1867 and 1880, basing on a project of the architect Potessarou approved by decree of Sultans Abul Aziz and Abdul Hamit II. The church features a huge dome and two high steeples, easy to spot from Taksim Square. The Gothic style makes the building quite attractive. In the interior we can admire some outstanding decorations such as the iconostasis, the large rose window and the fine stained glass windows. Most of the icons housed in this church seems to have been influenced by the “Western style”, as they move away from the traditional Byzantine icons.

Visiting hours: Sunday morning (Holy Mass at 9)

istiklal_caddesi_TITIf Taksim is the heart of Istanbul, ISTIKLAL CADDESI (Independence Boulevard) surely is its aorta. This long (about 3 km) pedestrian street connects Taksim Square to the district of Galata, where the famed Genoese tower is located.
It is said that over 1 million people walk on Istikal street every day. It is without doubt the most lively street of the city; here one can find anything: big shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, fast-food, bakeries, night clubs, tea-rooms, bookshops, art galleries, any kind of peddlers and street artists and much more. Not to be missed are some arcades (pasaj in Turkish) which lead off to the main street; One in particular is really beautiful: Cicek Pasaj, “the Flowers Arcade”.
On Istiklal are located many consulates, indeed this was the renowned Grand Rue de Pera, the headquarter of foreign diplomacies. Strolling in Istiklal one can admire the refined historical buildings, in many architectonic styles (baroque, rococo, neoclassic, neo-gothic, art nouveau etc.), and several religious temples: mosques, churches and synagogues.

st-antonys-churchWalking down Istiklal Caddesi, it is impossible not to notice ST. ANTONY’S OF PADUA CHURCH, the most important Roman Catholic temple of Istanbul.
In 1724 a church in honor of St. Anotony of Padua was built in the district of Pera, but in 1904 the building was demolished to give place to the tramway line. Two years later, not far from the ruins of the previous structure, the construction of the current church started and it was completed in 1912. The project, designed by the Italian-Turkish architects Mongeri and De Nari, was funded from the donations of the Levantine community which at that time amounted to about 40 thousand people.
The church features a Neo-gothic Venetian style, with an elegant and characteristic facade in red bricks. In the pretty courtyard there is a fine statue of Pope John XXIII, who is known in Turkey as the “Turkish Pope” due to the fact that he spent 10 years in this church as Vatican nuncio.
The Holy Mass is officiated on Sundays in Italian.

Working hours: 8-12 and 15:30-18:30 (winter); 8-12 and 15:30-19:30 (summer). Holy Mass in Italian on Sundays at 11:30 and on Saturdays at 19 (at 18 in winter)

The TOWER OF GALATA is one of the oldest towers in the world. The original structure was built  in 528 by the Byzantine emperor Anastasius Oilozus. It was entirely in wood and served as a lighthouse.
In 1348 the Genoese rebuilt the building using massive stones as part of a great fortification system from which they ruled over the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait. Following the conquest of Costantinople in 1453, the Tower of Christ – as the Italians had named it – fell into the Ottomans’ hands who used it firstly as a prison and then as a fire-watching tower.
There is a legendary event linked to this monument: during the reign of Murat IV (1612 – 1640), Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi, a pioneer of aviation,  jumped off the top of the tower with a pair of artificial wings and managed to fly over the Bosphorus and land on the hills of Uskudar, on the Asian side.
The tower was opened to the public in 1967, after the last restoration. Since then it attracts thousands of tourists who come here to admire a breathtaking view of the city from the 61 m of its summit, while drinking a good coffee or dine in the elegant restaurant.

Visiting hours: 9-20 (visit & café); 12-16 (lunch service); 20-24 (night club and restaurant)

Rahmi Koc Museum displays unique and wonderful collections dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communications. It is housed in magnificent buildings – themselves prime examples of industrial archaeology – on the northern shore of the Golden Horn.
The huge exhibition area (27000 square meters) of the museum  comprises three separate parts. Lengerhane, “the house of the anchor”, was  an old Ottoman palace built in the 18th century, during the reign of Sultan Ahmet III, over a pre-existing 12th century Byzantine building. The Rahmi Koc Museology and Culture Foundation acquired and restored the building in 1991, adding an underground gallery to the original structure.
In 1996 the Foundation bought also the historical dockyard of Haskoy, where, since 1861, the maintenance and repairing of the Ottoman Sea Line Company’s ships were carried out.
The open air display area houses durable and large scale objects such as a submarine, a ferry boat, planes and a floating sheerleg.

Visiting hours: Tuesday – Friday 10-17; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 10-18 (1 October – 31 March) 10-20 (1 April – 30 September). Closed on Mondays

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IMPERIAL TOUR Wed, 20 Mar 2013 07:42:13 +0000 The Imperial Tour will make you discover the must-see monuments of Istanbul, where the affascinating history of this city has been written. The tour takes place in the Sultanahmet district, the peninsula hanging between Europe and Asia where over two thousand years Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans built their empires. We will stroll around the ancient part of the city, the site of former Constantinople, an historic area selected as a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO. We will also gain an insight of Istanbul’s daily life, discovering some aspects of the city which tourists normally don’t get to see. In an unforgettable day, we will learn a lot about the history, culture and traditions of ancient and present-day Istanbul.


  • Hippodrome
  • Blue Mosque (cannot be visited on Fridays before 3 p.m.)
  • Topkapi Palace (closed on Tuesdays)
  • Hagia Sophia Museum (closed on Mondays)
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Grand Bazaar (closed on Sundays)

Duration: 6 h approx.
Included: guide service
Not included: entrance fees, transport, lunch



HippodromeThe Hippodrome was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire.
Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı with a few fragments of the original structure surviving: the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Theodosius and the German Fountain.


Blue_Mosque_CourtyardThe Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: Sultanahmet Camii) is a historical mosque of Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire (from 1453 to 1923). The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.

It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasa and a hospice. While still used as a mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque has also become a popular tourist attraction.

Visiting hours: 9 – sunset. Closed during praying time


Topkapi_Palace_aerial viewThe Topkapı Palace is a large palace that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years (1465-1856) of their 624-year reign. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a major tourist attraction and contains important holy relics of the Muslim world including the Prophet Muhammed’s cloak and sword. The Topkapı Palace is among the monuments contained within the “Historic Areas of Istanbul”, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Criterion IV of the UNESCO’s Declaration describes it as “the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces […] of the Ottoman period.”

Visiting hours: April – October 9-19; November – May 9-17. Closed on Tuesdays


Hagia Sophia interiorHagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453 it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted into a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople of the Western Crusaders’ established Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29th May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1st February 1935.
The Church was dedicated to the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity, its dedication feast taking place on 25 December, the anniversary of the Birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although it is sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Saint Sophia), sophia is the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom – the full name in Greek being Ναός τῆς Ἁγίας τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφίας, “Church of the Holy Wisdom of God”.

Visiting hours: November – May 9-17; June – October 9-19.30. Closed on Mondays


Basilica CisternThe name of this extraordinary underground monument is derived from a former Roman Basilica which was located here in the 3rd and 4th century.
In order to provide the city with a sufficient water reserve, the emperor Justinian converted the basilica into a huge cistern for the construction of which recycled materials from former buildings were used. That explains the hetherogenity of the 336 columns which sustain the structure: most of them are of Ionic and Corinthian order, some in Doric order and a few not decorated at all.
The building resembles more a palace than a cistern as its evocative Turkish name, Submerged Palace” (Yerebatan Sarayı), testifies. The twilight, the fresh air, the music and the maze of columns reflected in the water create a magic atmosphere. In the north-western wing of the building you can admire two amazing columns featuring at their bases two huge heads of Medusa, the mythological figure with the petrifying sight.

Visiting hours: April – September 9 – 18:30; October – March 9 – 17:30


The Grand Bazaar (Turkish Kapalıçarşı, meaning “Covered Bazaar”) of Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.
It was built in 1461 by order of Sultan Mehmet II. Between the XVI and XVIII century, several fires and earthquakes damaged the structure which was repeatedely restored. The current building is deeply affected by the restoration works which underwent in the XX century.
Spanning over 30 hectars, it comprises 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.

Visiting hours: 8.30 – 19; closed on Sundays

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ISTANBUL ON BIKE Wed, 03 Oct 2012 11:03:26 +0000 Istanbul On Bike is the first and only tour operator offering guided bike tour of Istanbul.
We started this project in 2012 with the aim of offering our guests a perfect combination of sightseeing and sport. Joining a bike tour you will see more and spend less.

All our tours are designed to show you the best of Istanbul – great monuments as well as hidden gems – and to give you a taste of the city’s daily life. In the designing process we take into consideration several factors: security, ease of riding, cultural assets, enjoyment. Our professional and experienced tourist guides will disclose you the wonders and the secrets of the city, always leading you on the right path.
Our routes cover all the most beautiful areas of Istanbul and are available both as private and shared tours. Choose among our available itineraries and go for this unforgettable experience!

For further information visit

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SPIRITUAL TOUR Tue, 07 Aug 2012 08:00:46 +0000 On the Spiritual Tour you will discover some fantastic places of Istanbul which normally are not included in the mass-tourism offers but are definitely worth visiting. Being off the traditional itineraries, all these places have kept their authenticity and charm. You will see the less-known side of Istanbul which will not fail to amaze you.


  • Suleymaniye Mosque
  • 1453 Panaromic Museum
  • Theodosian City Walls
  • Chora Museum (closed on Wednesdays)
  • Eyup Sultan Mosque
  • Pierre Loti Hill

Duration: 6 h approx.
Included: guide service
Not included: entrance fees, transport, lunch



suleymaniye mosque_TITThe Süleymaniye Mosque is the largest mosque of the city and surely one of the most beautiful. It was built on the order of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, on the third hill of Istanbul. The author of this masterpiece is Mimar Sinan, the greatest Ottoman architect, who completed the work between 1550 and 1558. This grand mosque symbolizes the acme of the Ottoman Empire achieved during the long and prosperous reign of Suleyman, who rests in the garden behind the mosque along with his wife Roxelana.


Panorama 1453 is an innovative and engaging historical museum where we can experience the Conquest of Constantinople, almost exactly as it happened on that fateful 29th May 1453. The museum is located next to the Topkapi – Edirnekapi ramparts, where the fiercest battle of the siege took place and where the Ottoman soldiers first breached the insuperable city walls. The clou of the visit is the 360° panoramic painting of the siege, an outstanding and imposing work of art (38 m of diameter) which really brings to life the scene of the battle. While staring at the battlefield, you will hear the explosions of the cannonballs, the battle cry of Sultan Mehmed II’s soldiers and the sound of the marches played by the Janissary band.

Visiting hours: everyday 9 – 19.


The Theodosian Walls, erected by Emperor Theodosius II in the V century, are one of the military wonders of antiquity. They stretch for almost 7 km from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn, protecting the land side of the former Constantinople. The fortification was made up of the lines of walls: the inner wall was 4,5 – 6 m thick and 12 m high; the outer was 2 m thick and 8,5 – 9 m high. Both walls were strengthened by numerous towers between 15 – 20 m high (many of them are still standing) and divided by a wide moat. They were breached only twice in their long history: by the Latins of the IV Crusade in 1204 and by the Ottomans in 1453. Embedded in the walls were 9 main gates, the most glorious of which was the Golden Gate, embellished with a triumphal arch and for centuries scene of the crowning of Byzantine emperors. After the conquest, the Ottomans added 3 towers to the pre-existing 4, creating the fortress of Yedikule (“Fortress of the Seven Towers”).
According to a legend, during the final siege, Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Byzantine emperor, was rescued by an angel, turned into a statue and put to rest underneath the Golden Gate, where he awaits to be brought back to life and conquer the city back. This prophecy would explain why the Turks walled up the gate later on.


The Turkish word kariye is derived from the ancient Greek word chora meaning “land outside of the city”. It is known that there was a chapel outside of the city before the 5th century when the city walls were erected. The first Chora Church was rebuilt by Justinianus  (527-565) in place of this chapel. In the era of the Komnenoi it served as the court chapel for important religious ceremonies, thanks to its nearness to the Palace of Blachernae.
The church was destroyed during the Latin invasion (1204-1261) and repaired in the reign of Andronikos II (1282-1328) by the Treasury Minister of the palace, Theodore Metochites (1313). It was expanded towards north, an exonarthex was added to its western side and a chapel (parecclesion) to its southern side, and it was decorated with mosaics and frescoes.
The mosaics and frescoes in the Chora are the most beautiful examples dating from the last period of the Byzantine painting (14th century). The characteristic stylistic elements in those mosaics and frescoes are the depth, the movements and plastic values of figures and the elongation of figures.
Following the conquest of Istanbul, the building was converted into a mosque by Vizier Hadim Ali Pasha (1511). It was converted into a museum in 1945 and during the restoration in 1948-1959 carried out by the Byzantine Institute of America, the mosaics and frescoes were uncovered and brought to the daylight.

Visiting hours: 9 – 19 (from April 15th); 9 – 17 (from October 1st). Closed on Wednesdays


eyup sultan mosqueEyup Sultan Mosque was erected by Mehmet II on the burial site of Ebu Eyyub-el Ensari, who was the standard bearer of the Prophet Mohammed and died during the siege of Constantinople by the Arabs in the 7th century. It was the first religious complex built after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Many tombs mushroomed in the proximity of Eyup’s tomb as people believe that Mohammed’s companion would plead for the dead in the hereafter. Up to this day, being buried in the cemeteries nearby Eyup Mosque is considered an honor.
Eyup Sultan Mosque is one of the holiest places not only in Istanbul but in all the Islamic world. In Ottoman times, the girding of the sword ceremony was traditionally held here. In this enthronement rite, the new sultan received Osman Gazi’s sword, maintaining continuity within the dynasty.
Given its religious importance, Eyup Mosque hosts many visitors, particularly during the month of Ramadan. Quite obviously, this neighbourhood is rather conservative and traditional.


pierre-loti-hill_TITPierre Loti (1850-1923) was a French writer who, as a naval officer, visited many foreign countries. Turkey seems to have had a very special attraction for him. Some people were inclined to attribute this merely to his love affair with a Turkish woman, Aziyade, during his first visit to Turkey. This young woman was brave enough to escape from the harem of her husband, whenever he was absent, to run into the arms of her lover who lived in a house on the hills of Eyüp. He tought of writing a book based on his experiences in Istanbul after leaving the city but this first novel called ‘Aziyade’ was not enthusiastically received. Loti came back ten years later and faced with the truth he was afraid to probe into… Aziyade was dead. She had died soon after her lover had left Istanbul. During his visits to Turkey, Loti dressed and acted like a Turk, with a fez upon his head and a rosary in his hand. He roamed in the intricate streets of Istanbul, rested in coffee-houses smoking a gurgling pipe or sipping a cup of thick Turkish coffee. He liked to stroll around the mosques of Fatih or Selim but Eyüp was his favorite place. He frequented this cafe admiring the magnificent panaroma of the Golden Horn, absorbing the quiet and paceful atmosphere that reigned there. No one knows exactly how or where it started but the place has been called after him: Pierre Loti Kahvesi…



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