Author's tour to Istanbul
Tour program: Istanbul-Constantinople-Bosphorus
- 5 days
- No visa needed
- 950 € for two
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Arrival at the airport, meeting with the driver and transfer to the hotel. Check-in at the Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton 5* hotel. Meeting with the guide. Start of the tour.
In the light of evening lanterns, Istanbul reminds a city from the tales of the Thousand and One Nights. You will walk along its central streets, look into non-tourist corners, explore ethnic squares and try street food. You will see the main sights of the city: the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan’s Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Galata Tower and the central Hippodrome Square. And the lively Taksim district and the local Khreshchatyk – Istiklal Street, filled with the sounds of music, artists and bright shop signs, will help you to touch the modern life of the city.
So that your acquaintance with Istanbul is not limited to the historical center, the guide will take you through the colorful squares where local and ethnic groups live. You will walk along the Algerian-populated French Street, the Jewish Quarter, the seaside district of Karakoy with graffiti and trendy cafes, and the authentic Kadikoy in the Asian part of the city.
The most important part of Istanbul is the local cuisine. The guide will show you favorite cafes of the locals and tell you about Turkish gastronomic traditions. You will find out where to try the most delicious stuffed mussels and eggplants, seafood, baklava and marzipan in Istanbul. Returning to the hotel, dinner.
After breakfast, meet your guide at the hotel reception. A deeper dive into the historical part ofthe city life awaits you. Please wear clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. It is advisable to bring a scarf with you.
During the tour today you will see:
Basilica Cistern – a well-preserved ancient underground reservoirConstantinople, located at a depth of 10-12 meters. In this huge cool room, you will not only be able to escape from the heat, but also learn a lot of interesting things. The building was built on the site of the Basilica of St. Sophia. The cistern in Greek means “reservoir”, that’s why the museum is called today the Basilica Cistern. The Greeks began to build the Basilica Cistern under Emperor Constantine I (306-337), and finished only in 532,under the reign of Emperor Justinian already. Of course, such a large-scale construction was not started just like that – a large supply of drinking water was stored in the cistern in case of a drought or a siege of the city. It holds about 100 thousand tons of water.
Ahmediye Square (old name “Hippodrome Square”)Almost nothing is left of the old venue for the races; the hippodrome has lost its main purpose, but not its attractiveness. Its vast territory turned into the main city square Sultanahmet and was divided into two parts. One of them is located between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. On the other side, there’s a laid out park and collected interesting monuments of the past – a wonderfully woven Serpentine Column, a monolithic Egyptian obelisk originally from Karnak, a strict 32-meter obelisk of Constantine and a German fountain, presented to the Ottomans by Kaiser Wilhelm II and solemnly opened in 1901. Near the square is the palace of Ibrahim Pasha, built in the 16th century.
Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque)One of the main attractions and symbols of Istanbul. It is the only mosque in Istanbul with six minarets. It was built in 1609-1616. under Sultan Ahmet I, after the defeat in the war with the Habsburgs, and money for construction was allocated from the sultan’s treasury. In preparation for construction on the Hippodrome square, where the mosque stands, lots of monuments of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods were destroyed, including the Byzantine Grand Palace, the remains of the Hippodrome spectator seats and many palace buildings that belonged to the highest nobility.
Hagia Sophia Museum
Hagia Sophia (Aya Sophia) is one of the oldest Christian churches that have survived almost completely intact to this day. Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Museum) was built under Emperor Justinian. This was one of the most famous rulers of Byzantium, who came to power in 527 and turned Byzantium into a powerful empire. Sophia’s temple was supposed to be better than the famous temple of King Solomon. It became the most expensive building in the history of Byzantium. For five years (532-537), ten thousand workers worked on the erection of a new symbol of Constantinople. The marble for the basilica was brought from Anatolia and Mediterranean cities. Ornamental stone, gold, silver, pearls, precious stones, ivory were used for its decoration. Eight columns were brought from the famous Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.
The center of power of the Ottoman Empire in the XV – XIX centuries. The palace complex consists of many pavilions, a harem, a library, a treasury, etc. It presents unique items made of porcelain, gold, silver and precious stones, a priceless collection of ancient manuscripts and relics.
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world, which became the most popular attraction in old Istanbul long time ago. Inside the market there are 61 streets, 4400 shops, 2195 ateliers, 18 fountains, 12 mosques, 12 warehouses, one school, one bathhouse, several cafes and currency exchange offices. Every day Kapali Charshi (as the Turks call the Grand Bazaar) is visited by over half a million visitors. In the evening returning to the hotel, dinner.Optionally, a visit to the spa area of the hotel or the Gyurem Sultan hammam complex.
Meeting with the guide. An incredible journey to the Princes’ Islands by ferry awaits you. The archipelago of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara, consisting of nine small islands, is located 20 kilometers from the coast of the Turkish metropolis, is quite isolated from the benefits of civilization. There are no car traffic and public transport in the usual form on the islands, this is a great place for those who want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city. You can get around here by foot only, on horse-drawn carts or bicycles, and you can only get here by ferry or boat. At the request of the guests, the tour can end a little earlier and walk around the Asian part of the city of Istanbul.
In the evening you will be picked up by a transfer for a walk along the European and Asian coasts of Istanbul. You will have time to enjoy the evening city and the Bosphorus, taste traditional food and watch Turkish dances. The program includes a dinner with oriental desserts, a show, a disco, and, of course, views of the main attractions and the Bosphorus Bridge.
The driver will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport.