Byzantine Istanbul

Byzantine IstanbulByzantine Istanbul

This classical itinerary is just a starter to discover the essence of the city. We will leave from the beaten path and head directly into the heart of the historical and cultural wonders that make the city unique.

THE FOUNDING LEGEND:“You will know…it is opposite the land of the blind.”…so said the oracle in Delphi.

-BYZANTINE HIPPODROME :

Heart of Constantinople’s political and sporting life, and the scene of games and riots through 500 years of Ottoman history as well.

Monuments decorating the Hippodrome include the 3500 year old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius and the spiral bronze base of a three headed serpent sculpture brought from Delphi in Greece. They stand in contrast with the Fountain of Kaiser Wilhelm II erected in 20th century as a gift to the Ottoman sultan.

-HAGIA SOPHIA AND THE GALLERY

The church of the Divine Wisdom is eternally impressive and important. Its dome was a daring engineering feat in the 6th century and engineers still marvel at the building’s many innovations.

-BASILICA CISTERN:

Beneath Istanbul lie hundreds of gloomy Byzantine cisterns. The Basilica Cistern is the best preserved and the grandest of all. With proper walkways and atmospheric lightening, it deserves a visit.

-CHORA CHURCH:

Originally built in the 4th century as the 'Church of the Holy Savior Outside the Walls' or 'in the Country' (chora), it was indeed outside the walls built by Constantine the Great.

The building you see was built in the late 11th century, with lots of repairs and restructuring in the following centuries.

Virtually all of the interior decoration—the famous mosaics and the less renowned but equally striking mural paintings—dates from about 1320.

The mosaics are breathtaking. Chora is a must see in Istanbul and one of the rare gems away from the crowds.

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