Theodosian Wall of Constantinople, Istanbul (Self Guided)

Constantinople was so named after the Roman emperor Constantine the Great who made the city the capital of the eastern empire. This walking tour will take you along the great wall that saved the city many a time during its wars against the Avars, the Tartars, the Russians, and the Bulgarians.
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Theodosian Wall of Constantinople Map

Guide Name: Theodosian Wall of Constantinople
Guide Location: Turkey » Istanbul (See other walking tours in Istanbul)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 km
Author: kane
Golden Gate

1) Golden Gate

The Golden Gate was the entrance to the city of Constantinople, for all the visitors who chose to enter it from the West. The Walls of Constantinople were built by Constantine the Great to protect it against attacks by both, land and sea, and The Golden Gate was its Western entrance. These walls have been present ever since the city was established as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. The walls have undergone tremendous modifications and additions and are one of the most elaborate fortification systems to be build during the ancient times. The gate stood on the 7th Hill of Istanbul, and was ornately decorated during those times.

The Golden Gate is also known as the Gate of Saturninus, the Xerolophos Gate, and İsakapı ("Gate of Jesus"). The gate survived until the Ottoman times, but in 1509, it was partly destroyed by an earthquake. Many emperors made a triumphant entry through the Golden Gate including the emperor Heraclius in 628, who also recovered the True Cross and entered the city on a Chariot drawn by four elephants. The Gates had been decorated with gilded Bronze and many statues. The emperor John I Tzimiskes and Manuel I Comnenus included the Gates in a fort with five towers. Today, remains of the fort are still visible, and the central square is used as an open-air theater.
Second Military Gate

2) Second Military Gate

The Second Military gate is located between towers 22 and 23 and in ancient times led up to an amphitheater. It was named "The closed gate" as it was sealed for a few centuries, due to a famous prophecy that it would lead to the fall of Constantinople. It was reopened later and was called the Belgrade gate, as many Serbs had settled in the area after the conquest of Serbia.
Gate of Spring

3) Gate of Spring

The Gate of Spring is also called the Pege Gate and The Gate of Selymbria in the Turkish Language. The gate is named so after a monastery present outside the Walls of Constantinople, the Zōodochos Pēgē which means “Life-giving Spring”. The gates are located near the suburb of Balikli in the city of Istanbul. During the ancient times this gate was also called, Porta Melantiados in Greek, which means the Gate of Melantias.

The gate has survived many centuries since it was built in the Byzantine times, but its arch was replaced by the Ottomans. This gate is important in history as it was through this gate that General Alexios Strategopoulos entered the city; and along with the forces of the Empire of Nicaea, retook the city from the Latins in 1261.

Until the Ottoman takeover, the city of Constantinople has remained intact from invasions due to The Walls of Constantinople, which were built by Constantine the Great. These walls were built and fortified against attacks form invaders by land and sea, and parts of the wall are still seen standing in the city of Istanbul. The gates including the Golden Gate and The Gate of Spring were among the few gated entrances to the city during those times.
Third Military Gate and "Sigma"

4) Third Military Gate and "Sigma"

The third military gate is one of the two minor military gates that guard "the Sigma" - a "c"-shaped part of the wall, probably made to enhance the defense of the wall in that particular part. The third military gate is nowadays sealed up, but you can come and see the site from where the ancient defenders of this magnificent city stormed out to defend the walls. "The Sigma" is still a topic of discussion for historians.
Gate of Rhesios

5) Gate of Rhesios

The Gate of Rhesios has been standing at the same spot for over 16 centuries. It is the best preserved and one of the most intriguing gates, as it has the oldest inscriptions. Some of them date back to the year of the construction of the gate. Another name of the Gate of Rhesios is "The gate of Reds" as it was the party of the Reds that financially contributed to its construction.
Gate of St. Romanus

6) Gate of St. Romanus

Originally named after a nearby church, the Gate of St. Romanus is actually the Gate where the very last Roman emperor fell. The gate nowadays bears the name Topkapi - the Gate of the cannon (in Turkish), as it was here that the biggest cannon existing at that time, with a weight of almost 18 tons.
Fifth Military Gate

7) Fifth Military Gate

The Fifth Military Gate has vanished without a trace. The towers and walls next to it are damaged as well, bearing the sign of the final and decisive Ottoman assault on the last remnant of the Byzantine Empire. It is because of this that the gate is called, in Turkish, Hücum Kapısı ("Assault Gate"). Although the gate itself is absent, visitors can actually stand in the place where the Theodosian wall was firstly breached in over a millennium.
Gate of Charisius

8) Gate of Charisius

Gate of Charisius is also known as Adrianople gate as it led into the city. It was exactly through this gate that the first Sultan of the Ottoman empire entered the city of Constantinople, in triumph. The gate is located at the highest of the seven hills and is the second most important gate after the Golden Gate. This is also the place from where the defense of the city was mounted by the last Byzantine Emperor.

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Istanbul is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

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Shopping Tour of Istanbul

Shopping Tour of Istanbul

Istanbul can easily claim to be one of the most interesting cities in the world. Located on the very edge of Europe, it later expanded into Asia resulting in a mixture of both cultures. When it comes to shopping you will be amazed by the variety of goods you can buy here and the way everybody bargains - even in the grocery store. Take this tour and explore the legendary bazaars and the hidden...  view more

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Museums Tour

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Souvenir Shopping

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Roman Heritage of Outer Constantinople

Roman Heritage of Outer Constantinople

Istanbul, known as Constantinople in the Middle Ages, was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for over a millennium. Although conquered by the Ottomans in 15th century, the city still preserves many signs of its imperial Roman past that reflect the might and splendor of this long vanished empire.

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Mosques Walking Tour

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Istanbul has been a center of Islam for over half a millennium. Add to the fact that it was always growing in population and wealth, and we have the reason why there are so many dazzling mosques in the city.

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Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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Istanbul, known throughout history as Byzantium and Constantinople, has been a major center of commerce and trade, a place where merchants and general folk would rush to regularly in search of exotic things. In our days, modern travelers to Istanbul are also bound to enjoy a truly magnificent...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Istanbul for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Istanbul has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Istanbul's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Istanbul Tourist Pass or Istanbul Welcome Card.

A city pass combines all or multiple Istanbul's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Istanbul hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel, Deluxe Golden Horn Sultanahmet Hotel, Great Fortune Hotel & Spa.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Istanbul, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Istanbul typically costs somewhere between US$20 and US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Istanbul from the open top of a bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (the ticket is valid for both). The ticket provides 24-, 48-, or 72-hour access, plus a free ride on Bosphorus sightseeing boat, and more.

- No visit to Istanbul is complete without savoring authentic Turkish cuisine. Embark on a 5-hour night food tour of Istanbul for a generous dollop of delectable Turkish culinary delights at the food hotspots many tourists don’t even know about.

- Get yourself lost for a while in the aromatic maze of stalls at Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar in the company of a knowledgeable guide, followed by a jaunt aboard a sightseeing boat along the Bosphorus Strait!

- Prepare for an action-packed day of sightseeing visiting Istanbul's top attractions in a single go including historic district Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the dazzling Grand Bazaar and more.

- Follow an expert guide on a 3.5-hour walk around Istanbul’s must-see attractions to familiarize yourself with the city's contrasting cultures and history.

- Take an opportunity to witness centuries-old Istanbul culture in the form of whirling dervishes performing their dance-like spiritual ceremony accompanied by Persian chanting and traditional Turkish music played by live orchestra.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Istanbul, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Gallipoli, Ephesus, or Cappadocia. For as little as circa US$100 up to US$300+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites (rock pillars, cave villages and subterranean cities), explore World War I battlefields, see the finely-preserved ancient eastern Mediterranean city and walk the pavements once strutted by toga-clad Romans, visit what is believed to be St. Mary’s last place of dwelling, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Istanbul, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, private vehicle or a plane (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.