Classical Istanbul with LunchThis tour covers major city’s highlights as well as a traditional Turkish lunch in one day during which you will have the chance to spend sufficient time in all venues visited. You will begin with an orientation drive which will reveal Istanbul’s connections between Europe and Asia.
You’ll continue your travel over the Golden Horn and into the ancient side of Istanbul through the crowded business section to reach 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. The main monument left today is the impressive granite obelisk, carved in Egypt around 1,500 BC and brought to Constantinople in 390 AD.
Next visit the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I, otherwise known as The Blue Mosque, is renowned 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. St. Sophia Museum is across from the Blue Mosque and originated in 326 under Constantine the Great. It became Hagia Sophia and was rebuilt on a larger scale during the reign of Emperor Justinian. His intention was that the new building should surpass in splendor all others in antiquity. It is said that 10,000 workers were employed in its construction and marble columns were brought in from temples in minor Asia, Lebanon, Greece and Italy. In 1934, St. Sophia was converted into a museum and is now the most important Byzantine Monument in Istanbul, famous for its immense dome and beautiful frescoes and mosaics. Following the museum visit, you will have the chance to enjoy the examples of Turkish cuisine before you continue to the next visit.
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 the 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 Topkapi dagger, the celebrated Topkapi Diamond and much more.
And finally you will visit one of the most colorful sites of Istanbul; the Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar is composed of two sections; the covered part and the modern part. The covered part is a whole quarter on its own and is surrounded by a wall which can be 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, jewelry, 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 most reliable shopping. During your time in the Grand Bazaar, you will be taken for a presentation on the unique art of Turkish carpets and given additional time to shop.
Send Request
Share