The Rise of Byzantium

* Private tours are upon request.
** The price above is quoted per person

Meeting at the hotel

Professional guidance

Special access to the listed venues




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Founded in 330 AD by Constantine I or Constantine the Great, Constantinople was the capital of Holy Roman Empire for more than 1000 years and just like the former capital Rome, of the Roman Empire. The city was known with many different names such as Nova Roma (New Rome), Augusta Antonina, Konstantiniyye and so on. The most famous name Constantinople means Constantine’s city in Greek (Constantine + Polis) and his empire built countless churches, palaces, infrastructure buildings, monastic complexes, columns, and other structures in and around Istanbul throughout the history of the empire. 

Byzantium Istanbul: More Than Just a Set of Structures

However the empire was more than just a set of structures. Its capital city, Constantinople, was more than just a set of structures as well and it was formed of a huge variety of ethnic and religious groups including Greeks, Romans, Jews, Slavs, Armenians, Caucasians, and Turkic groups making for a colorful cultural landscape, just like a mosaic made from hundreds of different stones. These characteristics of Constantinople made it the largest city of the Middle Ages and the center of trade, pilgrimage, education, trade, and diplomacy. Istanbul Tour Studio’s “The Rise of Byzantium” tour goes beyond Constantinople’s monumental architectural legacy and focuses on the daily life of Constantinopolitans (Istanbulites) living in the Byzantine Era.

Istanbul Tour Studio’s Byzantium Tour Highlights

  • Valens Aqueduct Bridge: 900 m long aqueduct bridge built approximately 1650 years ago from large ashlar blocks during the reign of Byzantine emperor Valens I in order to provide water to residents of Constantinople. Valens Aqueduct was epaired several times and functioned during the Ottoman Era as well until the 18th century.
  • Byzantine Churches converted into mosques: After the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453 a great number of Byzantine churches were converted into mosques and they still function as mosques. In the scope of this tour, we will see several of them, which are free, underrated, and contains the architectural features of both Christian and Islam architecture.
  • Column of Constantine: Erected in 330 AD by Constantine I in order to commemorate the declaration of Constantinople as the new capital of the Roman Empire. 35 m long and made from several porphyry blocks, only found in Egypt.
  • Hippodrome: 4th century Hippodrome was the center of chariot racing as well as celebrations, protests, festivals, and so on. It was also a symbol of imperial power, decorated with large monuments brought from all over the empire that are still surviving. According to many historians 40,000 capacity Hippodrome was the center of urban life.
  • Boukoleon Palace: 5th century summer palace of the Byzantine imperial family. Boukoleon Palace was abandoned in the 13th century when the Byzantine state moved their capital to the Blachernae Palace in Eyüp and ruins of the palace was majorly destroyed in the late 19th and early 20th century during the railway and highway construction.
  • Important Note: Some venues listed above will be seen from exterior. 

Who is this tour for?

  • Anyone who’s seen Istanbul’s most famous sights and wants to see some of the city’s real life.
  • Anyone interested in Byzantine past of Istanbul and Byzantine monuments.
  • People that would like to get off the beaten path and exploring Istanbul’s backstreets.

Why book with Istanbul Tour Studio?

  • We have been working with local historians, art historians, and archaeologists in order to devise a tour that provides the understanding of Istanbul’s Byzantine past.
  • We love showing visitors more than just the usual tourist sights and this is an opportunity to introduce others to one of our favorite parts of the city.
  • Istanbul Tour Studio is rated “Excellent” on Tripadvisor. Click to read the latest reviews about us.
  • We have a team of knowledgeable and passionate personnel who are trustworthy, friendly, and always on time.

How much is the private Rise of Byzantium tour per person?

  • Starting from 1 April 2019, our private Rise of Byzantium tour prices will start from $120 USD/person for two people. ($240 USD/total for two adults)
  • Our prices are quoted per person. We require minimum two participants to organise this private tour. Please contact us if you'd like to book a private tour for one person. The prices include English speaking professional guidance and potential venue entrance fees/donations. We offer dynamic pricing which means as the number of people on your private group increase, our per person prices decrease. 
  • This tour costs $120 USD/person for two people; $95 USD/person for three people; $80 USD/person for four people; $70 USD/person for five people and $65 USD/person for six people. You will automatically get the dynamic pricing at the booking phase once you select the total number of people.
  • We give 50% discount for children between 7-12 years old; meanwhile our tours are free for kids under 7 years old.
  • The prices quoted above are for the walking tour. If you are staying at Beşiktaş, Beyoğlu (Taksim) or Karaköy areas you can use public transportation such as tram, ferry or taxi. It would cost approx. $4 USD/person. Alternatively, we also offer private transportation with luxury Mercedes vans with professional drivers for $225 USD/day.
  • Please contact us for custom pricing for groups over six people.

 Contact us for more information

Tour Curator
Alican Kutlay
PhD Candidate at Byzantine studies, Archeologist and Art Historian
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