ISTANBUL CHRISTIAN HERITAGE
The tour begins with a stroll alongside the beautiful Golden Horn, the perfect introduction to the splendours of Christendom that crown Istanbul’s cityscape. One such splendour is the The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, once one of the fourteen autocephalous churches within the communion of Orthodox Christianity. Our tour of the Orothodox world will continue with a visit to Balat and the Bulgarian Iron Church, completed in 1898, brought in from Europe by rail. From here we explore the wooden buildings at the base of the towering ramparts of the Old City, where the practitioners of three distinct religions lived together harmoniously in one single neighbourhood. In addition to admiring the architecture of these wooden treasures, there will be ample opportunities to photograph the Walls of Constantinople, which stand strong to this day, as well as the still standing Golden Gate-the famed entrance to the Yedikule Fortress, gateway to the heart of Byzantium. Within those walls, one of the main attractions has always been the Little Hagia Sophia, an Eastern Orthodox church, thus named because it may have served as a model for the Hagia Sophia. After that visit, we will enjoy delicious Turkish cuisine before heading on to the Galata Tower, a 14th century medieval stone tower built by the Genoese that dominates the skyline of Beyoglu, affording sweeping views of the Old City, Golden Horn, Bosphorus, and the Sea of Mamara from its parapet, as well being one of the most striking landmarks in the city. From the Galata Tower we will take a short walk up historic Istiklal Avenue to the Saint Antoine Catholic Church, the most beautiful Catholic church in Istanbul, built in 1912.