Eyup, Pierre Loti Hill, and Kariye Museum: Guided Day Tour from Istanbul

Eyup, Pierre Loti Hill, and Kariye Museum: Guided Day Tour from Istanbul
Cultural & Theme Tours > Cultural Tours > Cultural Tour
$100
Duration: 8 hours
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Description

Beat the crowds of Sultanahmet and discover a new side of Istanbul on this small-group 8-hour tour of Eyup, Pierre Loti Hill, and the Golden Horn. You'll visit the Eyup cemetery, Pierre Loti Hill, the Kariye Museum (Chora Church), the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate, and the Suleymaniye Mosque, and pick up bags of local color along the way.

Meet your guide and your small group of no more than ten people in Sultanahmet at 8:30am. Hop aboard your climate-controled minivan, and head out to Eyup. It takes about half an hour to reach this hilly suburb on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait.

Along the way, your guide will explain the story of the district, how it takes its name from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Eyup in Turkish), a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, who is buried there. Since the dawn of Ottomam times, Muslims sought to be buried here to await Judgement Day, so the area became a city of the dead, full of beautifully carved tombs and epitaphs.

Stroll through the necropolis before you ride the cable car to Pierre Loti Hill, which offers breathtaking views of the Golden Horn. It was once the home of the French naval officer and novelist Pierre Loti, who loved Turkey and the Orient.

Linger over a Turkish coffee (own expense) before you board the minivan for the short trip to the Kariye Museum (Chora Church), which boasts some of the finest surviving examples of late Byzantine frescoes and mosaics. Your guide will explain the Old and New Testament stories behind these 14th-century artworks.

Enjoy a local lunch here (own expense) before you embark on the 20-minute walk to the Golden Horn. Stroll through the walls of Constantinople and two of Istanbul's oldest districts, Fener and Balat, until you reach the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate, the eastern Orthodox world's answer to the Vatican.

From here, it's just a short drive to the Suleymaniye Mosque, built by the celebrated Ottoman architect Sinan in the 16th century in honor of Suleyman the Magnificent. With its stunning views and spectacular architecture, it's truly the jewel in the crown of the Golden Horn.

Enjoy a colorful stroll through alleyways and bazaars to the Golden Horn itself, where the Alibeykoy and Kagithane rivers meet the Bosphorus. From here, you'll drive back to your central Istanbul hotel, returning from 4:30pm.

Beat the crowds of Sultanahmet and discover a new side of Istanbul on this small-group 8-hour tour of Eyup, Pierre Loti Hill, and the Golden Horn. You'll visit the Eyup cemetery, Pierre Loti Hill, the Kariye Museum (Chora Church), the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate, and the Suleymaniye Mosque, and pick up bags of local color along the way.