Straddling two continents, seven hills, and innumerable harbors, Istanbul is one of the world’s most spectacular cities. Its richly layered history, multi-ethnic composition, and pivotal location are imprinted on the city today, to the delight of any walker. Longtime Istanbul enthusiast Lawrence Butler explores the neighborhoods that cling to the slopes and shorelines, taking us to places and monuments where the buses can’t go.
9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Back-Street Sultanahmet
Once you’ve seen the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, what’s left? Some of the most exquisite monuments of the city, just steps away.
11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The Market Slopes
From the Grand Bazaar to the Golden Horn, explore the commercial heart of this grand Silk Road city, where markets and mosques are entwined by design.
12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Lunch
Participants provide lunch on their own.
1:30 to 2:45 p.m. Beyoglu and Galata
Pedestrians delight in the Ottoman Empire’s steep old foreign embassy district, one of Europe’s most vibrant 19th-century urban landscapes.
3 to 4:15 p.m. Ethnic Minority Neighborhoods
Istanbul’s vast expanse shelters ancient pockets of Greek, Jewish, and Armenian culture with beautifully restored monuments for the alert walker to discover.
Butler, a former Fulbright scholar in Turkey, now teaches art history at George Mason University and leads occasional study tours to Istanbul.