Fener Balat Istanbul, 3 hrs, walking tour
Fener and Balat are two old neighborhoods in Istanbul located along the Golden Horn. They are both rich in history.
Fener and Balat are off the major tourist trail; their authenticity makes this guided tour worthwhile. This tour is always a favorite because it’s a reason to leave Sultanahmet and see Istanbul beyond the open air museum.
Our Fener Balat Istanbul starts with a ferry ride from Eminonu or Karakoy zigzagging both sides of the Golden Horn to end in Ayvansaray. It’s a great ferry to see the famous skyline of Istanbul and witness how the city flourished after the conquest in 1453.
Ayvansaray is where Constantinople officially ended so we’ll see and walk along the mighty Byzantine walls from 5th Century. It’s a good place to listen to many stories about how the siege happened between the Ottoman and Byzantine armies.
Our first visit is an extraordinary Greek Orthodox Church – Mary Blachernae. The only church in the whole world where there’s a service on a Friday morning. This church is built on a sacred water source and is a pilgrimage for Greek people. You’ll be led by an expert local guide who has a good story to tell about this unique structure and its history in Istanbul.
We’ll then pass onto Balat walking through the splashes of color and the vibrancy of its street life, crisscross of washing lines on the crumbling buildings, the synagogues, the churches, and the labyrinth of cobblestone streets teeming with kids playing football and women in headscarves beating rugs.
Starting with 1492, Balat grew to become a thriving cultural melting pot of Sephardic Jews from Spain, Greek and Armenian Christians as well as Muslims. During our Fener Balat Istanbul walking tour, we give a break in this vibrant neighborhood and enjoy people watching in their everyday heyday.
Our walk ends in Fener seeing the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate housing a column, which is believed to have been used for the binding and flogging of Jesus in Jerusalem.
Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Church is an essential part of this tour because it’s the most sacred site for all of the 300million Orthodox people in the world. We talk about why Mehmet II who conquered Constantinople let the site stay in Istanbul. What is its importance in the Christian world? How are they equal with the Catholic church? and many more.
It’s a pleasure walking the streets of these two very old neighborhoods of Istanbul. Join Walks In Istanbul Fener Balat Istanbul tour either with a local private guide or enjoy a small group tour of max 8 people.
Walks In Istanbul makes sure it will always be an intimate experience.
Fener Balat Istanbul tour runs twice every day and starts at 40Euros.