Greek - Jewish - Armenian - Muslim Quarters Tour in Istanbul

Walking Tours every day for Private & Small Groups !


Les Arts Turcs team's professional guides that speaks French, Italian, Portugues and Spanish, English makes special tours of Greek, Armenian and Jewish quarters of Istanbul. Recommended by Lonelyplanet guidebook .

Walking tour in the Historical UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE !!

Tour Itinerary ;

This will be a 4-5 hours of Walking & Photography tour starting from your hotel; meeting with our guide exploring the old town of Istanbul " Off the Beaten Path " and non touristic part of the city.

Sahaflar : Secong Hand Book handlers located near the Istanbul University.

Aquaduct of Valens : The Valens Aqueduct stands in Istanbul, in the quarter of Fatih, and spans the valley between the hills which are today occupied by Istanbul University and the Fatih Mosque. It is a creation of the late Roman and the early Byzantine time. It is uncertain as to when the aqueduct’s construction began, but it is mentioned in certain sources that it was completed eithe during the reign of Emperor Valens (364–378CE) or of Hadrianus (117–138CE) whose names it bears.

Fener and Balat districts are located on the historic peninsula of Istanbul. Once a focal point of the social and cultural lives of Greeks, Armenians and Jews, the Fener and Balat districts are presently inhabited by a mostly Muslim population that immigrated from other cities and rural areas.

Fener was dominantly a Greek neighbourhood since the Byzantine period. In the 17th century, Fener became the residence of upper classes and the bourgeoisie with its hewn stone buildings and richly ornamented house facades. During the Ottoman period, an important segment of Greeks who lived in Fener, who were well-educated and fluent in several languages, held high government positions as interpreters or diplomats. During the 18th century, the majority of new constructions were made of stone or wood; and aristocratic Greek families started to build villas around the Patriarchate.

Balat is known as a Jewish quarter--with a small Armenian population-- dating back to the Byzantine period. Balat's winding streets provided a meeting ground for navigators, seafarers, street vendors and porters. Following the earthquake of 1894 and a series of fires that affected not only the neighbourhood but whole city of Istanbul, the social structure of Balat underwent significant changes: The wealthiest section of the inhabitants left the district and moved to Galata, which is the current location of the Jewish institutions including the Chief Rabbinate and major synagogues. The emigration followed and one fourth of the population of Balat left for Israel after its establishment.

Pierre Loti Hill by cable-lift where you can catch the beautiful view of Istanbul.When you reach beautiful Pierre Loti Hill, you will have a rest time to drink with the nice view of Golden Horn.

Eyup Sultan Mosque is one of the holy places in Istanbul,site of the Eyup Sultan Mosque where Ayoub al-Ansari (Eyup Sultan),the standard-bearer to the prophet Mohammed ,is buried.

Tour Starting Time ;

The tour is private for you and starting time is flexible.. We recommend 10:00 or 10:30 to make a fresh start but we have flexibility on that as well

Idea : This tour gives the story and lifes of Turkish Greek, Jewish, Armenian and Muslim communities in today's Istanbul.

Please send us an e-mail for more information.


Half Day Tour Price ( Per Person )
2 & More
75 Euro
1 Guest
120 Euro
Tour Includes.
  • Runs everyday mornings or afternoons.
  • English Guidance and assistance service.
  • Public Transportation & Cable Car fee on the way.
  • Discount rates for students and groups.
  • For more info please send us an e-mail.


Walking Tour Photos -Istanbul

Article by Elizabeth Currie / 06 JUNE 2010

Walking through Past and Present in Istanbul

A city of dreaming spires. No, not Oxford, but Istanbul; not church spires but tall glittering minarets.  Since arriving in Istanbul I had, as so many a visitor, probably from Lord Byron onwards, determined to make the most of my brief time there. And I wanted, not only to engage with that elusive spirit of what had once been the fabled city of Constantinople, but also with the real ‘feel’ of the place – as it is now. 

So I had been awed by the well known glories, feted in every guide: The Sultans’ Palace, the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia. I had wandered around the charming back streets and by ways of the residential quarter of the Sultanhammed with its old timber houses; taken tram rides down into the port, a ferry out to the islands, even a boat tour of the Bosphorus up to the Black Sea.  I had dropped into different eateries, cafes and restaurants, tried Turkish tea, coffee, ice cream and delight. Yet, as my final day approached, something, I felt, was still missing.  As an anthropologist I need to feel some deeper connection to the real spirit of a place and its people, and it is too easy for this to disappear completely beneath the gaudy veneer of modern commercial tourism.  India, Ecuador and Peru last year, and now Turkey: the ethnic detail may have differed, but the process is identical. The industry packages culture and sells it piece meal to the visitors. For all the splendour of palaces, mosques and churches, the mystique of ancient weedy ruins, the calls to prayer echoing city-wide from so many lofty graceful minarets, the real character of the place yet remained teasingly exclusive.

So I had been in Istanbul for nearly a week by the time I happened upon Les Arts Turcs. I had a single day left and determined not to waste it wandering around the Sultanhammed being accosted by souvenir sellers and touts.  It is the kind of organisation I always prefer to patronise – not exactly a tour operator, but something rather subtler and offering more of the ‘real’ (read authentic) experience of a place – acting more as a sort of ‘honest broker’ between culture and visitor.  I had originally gone to the office to enquire about the Dervish Whirling ceremony, but found myself signing up for a personal guided tour of the lesser known parts of the old city too, through some of the most traditional quarters that otherwise I would never have seen.  I was taken by a very congenial, knowledgeable  ‘host’ and spent a delightful day, not just walking and site seeing, but exchanging sundry stories, histories and philosophies too.

We  visited parts of the city that had, back in the 15th and 16th centuries been home to Greek Orthodox and Jewish (Sephardic) immigrants, now home to the Romany community and, latterly, to artists, writers and intellectuals too.  Finally we took the cable car high up the hillside to visit the old Islamic cemetery and enjoy the splendid vistas across the Golden Horn, before returning to visit the better known Grand and Spice Bazaars, through bustling traditional street markets. Later that evening, with the full moon rising above the ancient city walls, we visited the sema - the Dervish community and its famed Whirling ceremony and dance.  It was a wonderful, memorable day and way to end my visit to a such a city. Now I can say I really have seen Istanbul; and felt – if briefly – a little of its deeper pulse too. Perhaps one day I’ll return for a more in depth experience!