Hello, I’m Serhat Engul. I have been a tour guide in Istanbul for about 17 years. On the site, I provide practical information about Istanbul based on my experience. Likewise, while I am guiding, I convey my historical knowledge without boring the audience. If you want to join a quick guided tour in Istanbul, you can choose my private half day walking tour.
Private half day Istanbul tour is suitable for those staying in the city for a limited time. However, if you have more time to explore the city, you can check out the other tours I recommend. These are the Sultanahmet Tour, Fener Balat walking tour and Byzantine history tour respectively.
Private Half Day Walking Tour of Istanbul
Private Half Day Walking Tour of Istanbul gives you a great insight about the Istanbul’s history, culture and hidden treasures. It’s easy to combine this tour with your other activities. Recommended time to start is 10:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is approximately 3 to 4 hours.
What Does The Half-Day Istanbul Tour Include?
This tour starts between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning with a meeting at Sultanahmet Tram Station. First, we visit the Hippodrome and I give detailed information about the history of Istanbul.
Then we go to the Hagia Sophia to improve your knowledge about Byzantine history. Then we visit the Basilica Cistern, a 1500-year-old Byzantine cistern underground. The last stop will be the charming Blue Mosque in order to get to know Ottoman history.
What Can I Learn from The Half-Day Tour?
During the private half day tour of Istanbul, I give detailed information about the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman history of Istanbul Old City. In addition, you will have general information about Istanbul and will be able to plan for the rest of your visit.
I would like to briefly introduce the places we will visit in the following few titles. At the end of the article, I will note the price of the private half-day Istanbul tour. You can also find my references as a guide operating in Istanbul.
It is difficult to understand at first glance how deep history the Hippodrome has. However, the Obelisk of Theodosius, the oldest historical monument of Istanbul, is located here. This obelisk brought from Egypt is 3500 years old.
The Hippodrome was a place for chariot races just like the Circus Maximus in Rome. The people of Constantinople had enjoyed these races for 1000 years. The rivalries and riots experienced here constitute the core of Byzantine history.
2. Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian as a church in 537. After serving as a church for 900 years, it was converted to mosque when the city was captured by the Ottomans in 1453 and served as a mosque for 500 years.
Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The 1000-year-old mosaics from the Byzantine period were cleaned and became visible.
Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque again in 2020. However, the mosaics inside are still visible. Hagia Sophia stands out as the most important stop of a private half day Istanbul tour.
3. Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern is one of Istanbul’s mysterious underground cisterns. The cistern, which has a history of 1500 years, was built by the most famous Byzantine emperor Justinian.
Some scenes of movies like James Bond and Inferno were shot in Basilica Cistern. Inspiring many writers and poets, the cistern is among the most visited museums in Istanbul.
4. Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque will surprise you with its gray appearance at first sight. Blue Mosque, which has a very imposing and beautiful architecture from the outside, is a 17th century building.
You will understand why the mosque is identified with the blue color when you see the interior. Because the walls of the building, whose original name was the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, are covered with blue tiles.
5. Spice Bazaar
Private half day Istanbul tour is a historical tour in general. For this reason, Spice Bazaar, which is a shopping place, may not be interesting for some participants. However, there is a special reason for me to add this to the tour.
Spice Bazaar can be reached with a 15-minute walk from Hagia Sophia. The side streets that we will pass during this walk allow me to introduce you to the places where the locals shop and eat. Thus, you will learn places where you can experience street food in Istanbul.
Private Half Day Istanbul Tour Price
The price of a half day Istanbul tour with a private guide is 100 Euros. The price is not per person and remains the same for up to 4 people. Museum entries are not included in the price. The entrance fees should be paid for the Basilica Cistern only. Admission is free for licensed tour guides.
Please consider that it’s a private guided tour and there will be just you!
Where to Meet for This Tour?
We meet at the Sultanahmet Tram Station which is just next to Blue Mosque and Hippodrome. Since the places we will visit are within walking distance of each other, transportation is not required for this tour.
How Long Does Half Day Tour Last?
You can visit Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque and Spice Bazaar within 3-4 hours. This history tour would definitely give you a good overview about Istanbul’s history and culture.
References of Licensed Guide Serhat Engul
I use maps and visuals to help you understand the diverse history of Istanbul. I provide detailed information about Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
I share my history knowledge in an entertaining way. It’s the distinguishing feature of my private half day Istanbul tour. You may also check my TripAdvisor reviews to see what people think about my service.
You may also find the CONTACT FORM from this link
Recommended on TripAdvisor
Private Half Day Walking Tour of Istanbul by Serhat Engul