Best of Istanbul Without Lunch Over 2 DaysDeparting from the port, you will begin with a drive over the Golden Horn towards the Old City. Your first stop will be the ancient Hippodrome. For over 1,000 years this was the center of Byzantium life. Afterwards, for another 400 years, it was the social center of the Ottoman Empire. The Hippodrome was the scene of countless political and military dramas, including the famous chariot races.
St. Sophia Museum, originating as a church in 360 AD under Constantine, Hagia Sophia was converted into a Mosque when the city was conquered by the Ottomans in 1453 by Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Today the Museum is considered as the most important Byzantine monument in the world.
Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I (The Blue Mosque), known for its architectural harmony, proportion and elegance, is unique as it is the only original mosque in the world with six minarets. Breathtaking stained-glass windows and graceful arabesques decorate this mighty structure.
A journey in corridors of history: in Istanbul Archaeology Museums, you can trace the footprints of Anotaolian civilizations to thousands of years back. Museums promise much more than their “cold” buildings. Hundreds of invaluable historical artefacts including the Code of Hamurabi, the chains used to close the entrance of Golden Horn during Istanbul conquest, Alexander Sarcophagus and Kadesh Treaty are on exhibit within these walls. After completing your journey through the cultures of Asia Minor, Thrace, Mesopotamia, Arabian Penisula and Egypt, it is rewarding to have a rest in the peaceful courtyard.
The highlight of the tour will be Topkapi Palace (Harem section excluded). Topkapi Palace is a great walled complex hugging the shores of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn and it was once the residence of Ottoman Sultans. Mehmet II built the palace-city, home for three centuries of Sultans, in the mid-1400s as a summer palace. Topkapi was enlarged by Suleiman the Magnificent into the Sultan’s principal residence and with the successive Sultans grew into a great complex of buildings set in lovely gardens. A series of courtyards connect various buildings which now house an astonishing collection of Chinese porcelain, treasures, the celebrated Topkapi Diamond and much more.Enjoy an orientation drive which will reveal Istanbul’s connections to Europe and Asia.
The Grand Bazaar is one of the most colorful sites of Istanbul; this Bazaar is composed of two sections namely the covered part and the modern part. The covered part is a whole quarter on its own, surrounded by a wall and entered through eleven gates. The maze of streets and lanes are one of the greatest sights in the city, where various trades such as carpets, jewellery, leather goods, silver; varieties of souvenirs, textile, antiques, and home textile are segregated into particular sections of the bazaar. You will have the chance to explore the exotic atmosphere of the covered part for a brief period of time. You will also have the opportunity to visit the open and modern section of the Grand Bazaar which offers the best artworks and reliable shopping to your disposal. At this point you will have another period of time for shopping and a presentation about unique Turkish carpets and Turkish arts and products.

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