IMPERIAL & BOSPHORUS TOUR - Combining IMPERIAL & BOSPHORUS AFTERNOON TOUR.
Full Day Regular Group Tour
(20-25 people for each group)
THE IMPERIAL TOUR
St. SOPHIA This ancient basilica, built by Constantine the Great, in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, is one of the architectural marvels of all time.
SULTANAHMET IMPERIAL MOSQUE Across from St. Sophia built in the 17th century by the architect Mehmet, this is known as the BLUE MOSQUE because of its magnificent interior decoration of blue Iznik tiles.
HIPPODROME, The scene of ancient chariot races, the ancient Hippodrome, with its four monuments; the GERMAN FOUNTAIN OF WILHELM II, the OBELISK OF THEDOSIUS, the bronze SERPENTINE COLUMN and the COLUMN OF CONSTANTINE.
GRAND BAZAAR (COVERED MARKET) In this labyrinth of streets and passages are more than 4000 shops with each trade having its own area; the goldsmiths’ street, the carpet sellers, Turkish arts and crafts, such as handpainted ceramic plates, hand-honed copperware, brasware and trays, water ewers, onyxware and meerschaum pipers.
We begin our tour of the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul, at Hagia Sophia*. Built by the Emperor Justinian in the early 6th century AD and designed by Anthemius of Tralles and Isodore of Miletus, the church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Converted into a mosque in 1453, it is now a museum. Its massive dome still dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is also famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses and a poignant Virgin and Child. Next we visit the Blue Mosque which takes its name from the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Built by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 17th century and designed by a pupil of Sinan, the greatest of Ottoman architects, it is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. Its courtyard is especially grand. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi survive. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons, and leather goods. Wandering through the Grand Bazaar, indulge in some shopping, Ottoman style.
BOSPHORUS AFTERNOON TOUR
SPICE BAZAAR (EGYPTIAN BAZAAR) The air here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice. After the Spice Bazaar, we will take a short Golden Horn tour and go to Kabatas for Bosporus tour on our Private Boat. Not only does the Bosporus connect the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, it also separates the continents of Asia and Europe from one another.
GOLDEN HORN As a natural and extremely secure harbor, the Golden Horn has played an important role in the development of Istanbul. The inlet separates the European shore into two. It is approximately 8 km long, and the widest part is the entrance from the Bosphorus. Two streams drain into this inlet at its far end.
BOAT TRIP ON THE BOSPHORUS An amazing cruise between the two continents, EUROPE and ASIA, along the Bosphorus by the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces, wooden villas and mansions up to the Rumeli Fortress.
CITY WALLS The first breach of the walls was by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the second by the cannons and troops of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453.
THE RUMELI FORTRESS(FROM THE SEA) (NO INTERIOR VISIT)
stanbul had been besieged many times before Mehmet the Conqueror took the city in 1453,but it managed to defend itself with the help of the Roman city walls.
We cruise the Bosphorus, and from the deck of our cruise boat, take in the sights and sounds of this legendary waterway, lined with historic villages, grandiose waterfront mansions, imposing fortresses, like Anadolu Hisari, and the Baroque palaces of the late Ottoman sultans. After our cruise we travel along the breathtaking Golden Horn to the Spice Bazaar**, a thrilling riot of colors, sounds and the smells of exotic spices.