With Byzantine Heritage Walking Tour, you will touch the priceless Christian shrines and see with your own eyes the ancient monuments of Byzantine culture, miraculously preserved to this day.
Istanbul is a city with a long and rich history. Byzantium (the first name of Istanbul) was founded by the Greeks in 660 BC on Cape Sarayburnu, between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara. Now it is the central district of Istanbul Fatih. Later, the city was Latinized by the Romans and became part of the Roman Empire, and Byzantium received a new name – Constantinople. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the city became the capital of Byzantium and during the Middle Ages was the richest and largest city in Europe. In 1453, the Ottoman army led by Sultan Mehmed Fatih conquered Constantinople and it was renamed Istanbul.
Each of the eras left a unique mark in the centuries-old architecture of buildings, streets, parks. It is impossible to overestimate the contribution of Christianity to the history of Turkey, which is confirmed by ancient Christian temples, shrines and relics. Going on a tour of
The tour of Holy Byzantium begins with a visit to the Kariye Museum, also known as the Chora Monastery. This architectural monument is perfectly preserved, despite the fact that it dates back to the 4th-5th century. Inconspicuous from the outside, the church amazes with its extraordinary beauty inside.
Behind the walls of a modest unsightly church lies a real Istanbul gem – the Kariye Museum. A priceless collection of ancient mosaics and frescoes and the interior of the monastery look like a Byzantine fairy tale, and you can admire the magnificence of unique mosaics for hours.
Particular attention of visitors is attracted by the ceiling mosaic covered with gilding. The lion’s share of stories – on the biblical theme, and some works are truly masterpieces of the ancient era.
During the tour of Holy Byzantium in Istanbul, you will visit another unique Christian shrine – the Church of St. Stephen, which belongs to the Bulgarian community in Istanbul. The temple is located on the shores of the Golden Horn Bay, and its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is completely made of cast iron.
Initially, the church was wooden, but suffered from a fire and in 1896 was rebuilt from cast iron. Metal parts, weighing about 500 tons, were delivered from Austria via the Danube and the Black Sea, and more than 4 million nuts and bolts were used to assemble the iron church.
Another stopping point along the path of Holy Byzantium in Istanbul is the Blachernae Church, which in ancient times was located at the imperial palace in the suburb of Blachernae in Constantinople on the shores of the Golden Horn Bay. This place has long been considered the center of the veneration of the Mother of God in the Byzantine Empire, it was here that the vision of the Virgin Mary to Andrew the Holy Fool took place, which in the territory of ancient Russia is still honored as the Intercession.
The icon of the Blachernae Mother of God saved the city from sieges more than once. During the attack of the Arabian tribes, the enemies were frightened by the appearance of the image of a woman on the walls of the city and retreated, and a suddenly rising storm threw the Rus to flight in 860. Currently, the church is working, and on its territory there is a font and a Holy spring.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople is considered one of the main attractions of Istanbul and is not in vain included in the excursion program of Holy Byzantium. Initially, the main patriarchal temple was Hagia Sophia, but after the fall of Constantinople, the place of residence of the patriarch changed several times.
Now the residence is located in the south-west of the Golden Horn Bay, in the Phanar region. In addition to the residence, the patriarchal complex includes a library and the Cathedral of St. George the Victorious. Among the relics of the cathedral there is a carved iconostasis, benches made of dark wood with griffin heads, and even a part of the scourging post, to which Jesus Christ himself was chained during the execution.
One way to see the majestic architectural structures of Istanbul is to sail along the Golden Horn. In terms of excursions to Holy Byzantium, this sea voyage takes place in the evening, when the setting sun is reflected in the waters of the bay. Landscapes filled with many shades will forever leave an indelible impression in your memory and on the photo.
Even the travelers of the 19th century called the Golden Horn the most beautiful part of Istanbul, because on its banks there are such ancient areas as Galata, Phanar, Balat, Eyup, Kasimpasa, Ayvansaray.
Byzantine Heritage Walking Tour is interesting and informative not only for Christians, but also for all those who are not indifferent to world history and unique architectural monuments.
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