Highlights of Istanbul

Highlights of Istanbul

From the Golden Age of Byzantine, this once Christian church is one of the the most extraordinary buildings in the history of architecture. It played a very important role in the Byzantine Empire and later as a mosque in the Ottoman Empire. The word "Hagia" in Greek means "Divine" and "Sophia" means "Wisdom". "Divine Wisdom" is one of the attributes of Jesus Christ and this church is devoted to his divine wisdom.

 


 

This guided City Tour of the old historical quarter starts after breakfast, when you are picked up from the hotel or port by our private guide.

Begin with a visit to Topkapi Palace, the main residence of the Ottoman Sultans, with its jewel encrusted treasury and elegant four courts. After a lunch break, visit the main sights around Sultanahmet Square, including the famous Hagia Sophia Museum, once the largest church in the world for 1000 years, and decorated with stunning 6th century golden mosaics.

Then visit the Blue Mosque, designed with 6 delicate minarets and a striking blue Iznik tiled interior. Nearby, take a stroll through the site of the ancient Hippodrome, once the sporting ground of chariots and political riots, and see the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column and Fountain of Wilhelm II.

Finally, visit the Grand Bazaar, where you can shop or haggle with local merchants over unusual antiques, colorful spices, beautiful jewelry and richly textured fabrics. Drop off to hotel.

*** Also available as an Istanbul walking tour from Old City center located hotels.