turkey travel

*** Shore Excursions: Istanbul ***

Old City Tour


Itinerary:

Your tour guide will meet you at the harbor - and will be holding a sign with your name on it; you will then begin your guided tour.

This tour also can be taken as a half-day tour.

* Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya is a truly awe-inspiring, 1,400-year-old Byzantine cathedral which houses mosaics, relics and iron work. Hagia Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of the world's most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey's most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art. Built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD.

* Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque (Camii) built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I during 1609-1616. It is the only mosque in Turkey with six minarets. Due to its magnificent hand-dyed blue, green and white Iznik tiles it has been named the "Blue Mosque" by Europeans. The central dome is 43 m in height and is 33.4 m in diameter; it also boasts 260 windows.

* Hippodrome: the backdrop of chariot races and the center of Byzantine civic life. Of the ornaments which once decorated it, only three remain: The Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine.
The Obelisk is in the Egyptian style and was erected in 1547 BC and stood 60m tall. The German Fountain is also within the hippodrome area, constructed in Germany to mark German Emperor Wilhelm II's second visit to Istanbul; it was imported and officially opened on January 1 1901. The fountain's three domes are decorated with gold mosaics.

* Topkapi Palace was the imperial residence and administrative heart of the massive Ottoman Empire, beginnng with Fatih Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, in 1453, until 1856. It was converted to a museum in 1924. Parts of the palace such as the Harem, Baghdad Pavilion, Revan Pavilion, Sofa Pavilion, and the Audience Chamber distinguish themselves with their architectural assets. The museum also has collections from the Imperial Treasury, as well as Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy, etc. The Treasury also houses the Topkapi Dagger, the 86-carat "Spoon Maker's Diamond", and the jewel-encrusted bones of St. John the Baptist.

* Suleymaniye Mosque's cascading domes and four slender minarets dominate the skyline on the Golden Horn's west bank. It is considered the most beautiful of all imperial mosques in Istanbul, and was built between 1550 and 1557 by Sinan, the renowned chief architect of the Ottoman Empire's golden age. The mosque is named for the reigning Sultan of that time, Suleyman the Magnificent.
After the tour, we will provide a transfer to the harbor.

*** Tour ends ***

Cost: _______ Euro - (estimate for this tour is given upon request - please e-mail us your dates and how many people in your party.)


Includes:
* Pick-up and drop-off from harbor w/ comfortable vans
* Professional, English-speaking tour guides
* Entrance fee
* All tax and service charges

NOTE: Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays, and Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays.



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