Istanbul Private Tour Guide

Istanbul Personal Guide

Personal Tour Guide in Istanbul, Turkey

Hello, I am Serhat Engul. I was born and raised in Istanbul and I love the city where I live. I was born in 1980 on the Old City of Istanbul. I later settled on the Asian side of Istanbul and have been living here for a long time. So I had the chance to get to know every neighborhood of the city.

Roman and Byzantine History

I am very curious about the history of Rome and its continuation, the Byzantine Empire. I also studied the 15th century and later, when the city experienced a great transition period. I see it as a richness that the Ottoman Empire brought a new identity to the city.

The fact that there is more than one layer in the history of the city is very important for someone like me who is interested in history. The Greek settlement Byzantium, which started with the ancient Greek period, was later named Constantinople. It is fascinating for me that Emperor Constantine made this city the second capital of the Roman Empire and moved the imperial palace here.

Constantine was a reformist who changed the codes of the Roman Empire. Constantine not only changed the capital and moved the power center to the east, but also adopted the Christian religion. Constantinople, or Istanbul, was the symbol of this change that Rome had undergone politically and religiously.

Istanbul History Tour Guide
Constantinople

Latin Cult vs Greek Cult

The Roman Emperors preserved the Latin cult when they started living in Istanbul from the 4th century. However, the preservation of the old culture lasted only 200 years. Since they settled somewhere in the heart of ancient Greek culture, they were completely hellenized in the period until Emperor Heraclius.

It is ambiguous where the ancient Rome ended and when the culture we can call the Byzantine Empire started. According to some historians, it began in the time of Constantine the Great, while others point to Justinian as the last classic Roman Emperor. The mysterious culture of Byzantium, which is not known where it started and where it ended, has always attracted me.

Although most of the tourists visiting Istanbul are stuck in the triangle of Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar, there are actually many more historical monuments to see in the city. You can go off the beaten path in private guided tours that I organize.

Istanbul Tours by A Personal Guide

In the lines below, you can see the private guided tours that I organized in and around Istanbul Old City. If you visit Istanbul with a personal guide, you can be sure that the historical events I told in the top lines will come to life.

  • Private Half Day Walking Tour

A private guided half-day tour in Istanbul gives you very good general information. The historical artifacts that you must see in the city are blended in a balanced way. On the half-day walking tour, you learn all the layers of Istanbul’s mysterious history.

You have an idea about the transition from Ancient Greece to Rome, from Byzantine to Ottoman times. This tour is a compressed history tour and I will give you a summary of the history information I have gained over my lifetime.

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Hippodrome
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Spice Bazaar

It usually starts at 10:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 3 to 4 hours. The cost of the tour is 120 EURO (same price up to 4 people)

Extra costs per person: Hagia Sophia entry fee 100 TL, Basilica Cistern 30 TL


  • Private Full Day Walking Tour

The full day walking tour is a more tiring tour than a half-day tour. It is recommended to visitors who are really interested in history and love walking.

At first glance, it may seem that there is not much difference between a half day tour and a full day. However, since a visit to Topkapı Palace takes 3 hours on average, the tour becomes a full day.

Also, although we can finish the half-day tour without a break, we have to give a 1-hour lunch break on the full-day tour. This extends the tour for 3 to 4 hours.

  • Hippodrome
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Blue Mosque
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Grand Bazaar

It usually starts at 09:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 6 to 8 hours. The cost of the tour is 180 EURO (same price up to 4 people)

Extra costs per person: Hagia Sophia 100 TL, Topkapi Palace 100 TL, Basilica Cistern 30 TL


  • Byzantine History Tour

The Byzantine history tour allows you to fully grasp the Greco-Roman heritage in Istanbul. It covers the legacy of all Roman-Byzantine emperors, especially Emperor Constantine and Justinian, and is designed for history enthusiasts.

Mike Duncan‘s The History of Rome and Robin Pierson‘s The History of Byzantium podcasts has aroused great interest in Roman history in recent years. As a follower of these publications, I organized many tours for Roman-Byzantine history buffs. Likewise, there were those who had read John Julius Norwich‘s Byzantium and traced the stories in the book.

It was a great pleasure to show and explain what they listened to in podcasts or read in books to those who shared the same passion with me from all over the world. If these mean something to you, you will enjoy this tour.

  • Hippodrome of Constantinople
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Great Palace Mosaics Museum
  • Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
  • Valens Aqueduct
  • Chora Church
  • Palace of the Porphyrogenitus

It usually starts at 09:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 6-7 hours. The cost of the tour is 200 EURO (same price up to 4 people)

Extra costs per person: Hagia Sophia 100 TL, Chora Church 65 TL, Mosaic Museum 30 TL, Cistern 30 TL, Tekfur Palace 20 TL


  • Walking Tour of Fener and Balat

Fener and Balat are the little known but wonderful neighborhoods of Istanbul. Starting from Kadir Has University in Cibali, this tour is about the life of non-Muslims in the Ottoman period.

It includes various churches, mosques and synagogues. The tour also requires a special organization, as the places we visit are normally closed. Since we know the people working in churches, we open them for you specially.

On this walking tour full of history, we also take a break to taste local delicacies. Because in the Fener and Balat area, great cafes and restaurants have been opened in recent years.

It usually starts at 10:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 3 to 4 hours. The cost of the tour is 120 EURO (same price up to 4 people)


  • Walking Tour of Beyoglu

The Ottoman Empire underwent a major change in the 19th century. During this period of westernization, the Sultan moved from the traditional Topkapi Palace to the Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus. The reflections of this new lifestyle in the Imperial family were reflected in all Istanbulites.

It is possible to see the traces of this period in the architecture of the buildings starting from Taksim Square and stretching along Istiklal Avenue. In this tour, Galata and Pera neighborhoods, which are the symbols of westernization, and Karakoy, bearing the traces of traditional architecture, were blended.

The tour, which starts in front of the 16th century building, Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque, takes you on a journey in the Ottoman history. During this tour, you can grasp the social structure of the Ottoman Empire and the cultural change it had experienced throughout history.

It usually starts at 10:00 O’clock in the morning. Duration of the tour is 3 to 4 hours. The cost of the tour is 120 EURO (same price up to 4 people)


Istanbul Walking Tours by A Personal Guide

Istanbul Walking Tours By Licensed Guide Serhat Engul

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Istanbul Personal Guide 2020