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Byzantine Istanbul Tour, with the Hagia Sophia

Marvel at Byzantine architecture with an expert
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Tour Details
About the Tour
3 hours
Photos & Highlights
  • Travel through time as you experience Byzantine culture through the ages
  • Led by a scholar in Byzantine history and architecture
  • Hagia Sophia
Tour Description
Where You'll Start
Tour Experts
147 Reviews (4.71)

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Istanbul is a city with such diverse culture and art that it sometimes becomes difficult to understand the stories behind it without someone having a prior lookout on it. Thankfully we found Reyan, who toured us through Hagia Sofia, the Basilica Cistern and places around that. Reyan is a cheerful person who loves to talk in and out about almost everything, apart from a good talker she is a great listener too. We visited Hagia Sofia on April 27th, 2023, a rainy day where everything seemed to be a bit cluttered, we were roaming in the streets of Istanbul when we got a call from her asking where we were and if we wanted to have lunch before the tour. We met her at a restaurant at Sultan Ahmet and had a quick chat about almost everything, I found it warm how she was not just interested about just the tour but also about how we felt about our visit to Istanbul. She has an in-depth knowledge about what she does and has a great way of illustrating stories and engages one quite well. She gave us time to absorb into the art of the monument and put questions, to which she answered patiently. She bought certain supportive print-outs of mosaics and art of Hagia Sofia which have worn out over time on the monument, just so we could get a clear understanding of the art of the place. She is fun, easy to talk to, knowledgeable, and very kind. She helped us a lot by suggesting us proper route and mode of transport to get back to our AirBnb (we are not well versed with the local language). Recommend her highly.
Ebru is a wonderful guide! She is extremely knowledgeable and makes history so much fun! She adjusted her information so those in our tour who had more background in the history of the area learned and enjoyed the tour as much as those with less background. She tied the information really nicely to other parts of the Greek, Roman and Hittite histories as well as to the rest of Asian, European and African world at the time. We cannot recommend her highly enough!
During this trip our context tours were very “lecture driven”. The joy of a private guide is a knowledgeable person to stimulate and answer questions. Instead we always felt as were in school and the teacher was under pressure to present a lecture. A 5 minute background presentation is fine, and the rest should probably be spontaneous material based solely on questions (with your EXCEPTIONALLY educated guides this would be very possible). We consider ourselves somewhat nerdy and academic, but it was hard to stay engaged for a multi hour dense information lecture format type tour. Compound this with jet lag and it was not particularly enjoyable.