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Balat Tekfur mystery walk in Istanbul old town

Lose yourself in the colourful and vibrant streets of Balat, a traditional Jewish quarter located on the European side of Istanbul by the western bank of the Golden Horn. The photogenic old streets of Balat, one of Istanbul’s Jewish districts, await participants in this stimulating four-hour walking tour. Get away from the tourist crowds and some of the city’s more congested zones to explore an authentic Turkish neighbourhood, which is home not only to a well-established Jewish community but also thriving populations of Greeks and Armenians. Synagogues, Armenian churches, Romaic churches, Byzantine remnants and holy springs, known as ‘ayazmas’, all vie for the visitor’s attention. Although it could once boast seven synagogues, Balat now has only two in good condition. These are Ahrida Synagogue, one of the oldest in Istanbul, and the Yanbol Synagogue, first built by Jews from Yanbol in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Orthodox church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars, also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, is famous for being one of the few churches in the world to be made of cast iron. The prefabricated parts, weighing 500 tons, were produced in Vienna and transported to Istanbul by ship through the Danube and the Black Sea. See the ruins of the Byzantine palace known as Tekfur Saray, a 13th-century monument and one of the few major surviving examples of Byzantine secular architecture anywhere in the world. Discover a melting pot of cultures and religions on this intriguing tour of modern-day Balat. Lose yourself in the colourful and vibrant streets of Balat, a traditional Jewish quarter located on the European side of Istanbul by the western bank of the Golden Horn. The photogenic old streets of Balat, one of Istanbul’s Jewish districts, await participants in this stimulating four-hour walking tour. Get away from the tourist crowds and some of the city’s more congested zones to Meeting/pick-up point: Hotel reception. Duration: 4 hours. Start/opening time: Between 1pm and 1.30pm. End/closing time: Between 5pm and 5.30pm. Languages: English.