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Bulgarian St Stephen Church

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Bulgarian St Stephen Church: Our most recommended tours and activities

Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise and Golden Horn Bus Tour

1. Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise and Golden Horn Bus Tour

Enjoy a Bosphorus cruise through the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia, with a possibility to take photographs of marble palaces and ancient wooden villas of Ottoman architecture besides modern residential and luxurious apartments. See the Rumeli Fortress from the boat, a historical armament built by the Conqueror to control and protect the Bosphorus. It is a unique example of military architecture. Visit the Golden Horn by bus, the arm of the Bosphorus and a natural harbor of the historical peninsula separating the old and new parts of Istanbul where the first colonies settled during the Byzantine Empire. This was a residential area for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders, and other non-Muslim minorities. Drive along the traces of history in Balat and view the Bulgarian St Stephen Church, the Jewish Hospital (Or-Ahayim), the Fener Orthodox Patriarchate, and the 22-kilometer Byzantine City Wall, the strongest fortification of the Middle Ages. You then take a cable car ride to Pierre Loti coffee house.

Istanbul: Golden Horn & Pierre Loti Hill Cable Car Day Trip

2. Istanbul: Golden Horn & Pierre Loti Hill Cable Car Day Trip

The Golden Horn, a horn-shaped estuary, is said to be the world’s best natural harbor. Its name is rumored to have been derived from the golden hue of the water due to the reflection of the sun during sunset. During the Byzantine period, the Golden Horn was a trading harbor as well as a popular residential area. By the time of the Ottoman period, the Golden Horn had become populated by immigrants from Spain, Armenia, Greek, etc. In this full day trip, you’ll explore the areas by the banks of the horn and learn about the many historic sites nearby and explore the picturesque parks and promenades that have popped up in recent years. Start with a stop at St. George’s Cathedral. This neo-classical church dates back to the 16th century when it was recognized as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Take a look inside the lavish interiors of the cathedral before heading to the Phanar Greek Orthodox College. Built in the early 1800s and said to be one of the oldest educational institutions in Turkey, this historic structure will remind you of the iconic Hogwarts Castle in the famous Harry Potter franchise. Up next, you’ll head to the districts of Fener and Balat, which are steeped in history and culture. Wander around the cobblestone streets and take in the colorful Ottoman architecture. Stop for lunch in one of the local restaurants in Balat before heading to the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church. Also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, this shrine’s design features prefabricated cast iron elements in the neo-Byzantine style. Marvel at the intricate details of the church before making your way to Pierre Loti Hill. To reach the top of the hill, you’ll board a cable car and take in the stunning 360-degree views of the Golden Horn. Once you reach the hill itself, take a breather and admire the breathtaking views of the wonderful city below.

Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

3. Walk Fener and Balat – Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Region

If you are interested in visiting a functioning Byzantine church or seeing the only church in the world constructed entirely of iron and steel, then do not miss this full-day walking tour through Fener and Balat in Istanbul. The name Fener is derived from a Greek word 'Fanari,' meaning 'lantern' or 'lighthouse' in Turkish, and this district was made up of predominantly Romaic (Greek Orthodox) families up until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, this UNESCO-project filled site is known as the part of Istanbul where the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is situated. On this tour you'll hear the story of Phanariotes who served as dragomans to the Ottoman government and to foreign embassies. Following the included lunch, you will visit Balat, which is located on the southern shores of the Golden Horn. It is one of the Jewish districts where the people re-settled during the time of the Ottoman Empire. We will take you through Balat, where you will find yourself walking down intriguing streets, full of color and life. Synagogues, Armenian churches, Romaic churches, Byzantine remnants, and Ayazmas are all part of the adventure.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bulgarian St Stephen Church

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What people are saying about Bulgarian St Stephen Church

Overall rating

3.7 / 5

based on 40 reviews

Pick-up by the hour at the hotel Super guide Very cheerful team Language skills Spanish English French Very very correct We had a good time and discovered lots of things about this beautiful city Thank you Murat!

The excursion is fine, the cruise is recommended and the viewpoint has very nice views but there were so many people that could not be (it was a Sunday). The very nice guide

The Bosphorus cruise, somewhat surprised about the "non existing:" Pierre Loti house

Excellent, very good guide and very good transport Thank you very much

Efficiency and cordiality of drivers and guides

As for the tour itself, spectacular. The optimal staff