Istanbul Byzantine and Ottoman Tour: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar

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Duration: 1 day
Starting from
€66
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Description

Start your experience with a pickup from your centrally located Istanbul hotel. Settle into your luxury Mercedes minivan with your guide and drive into the UNESCO-listed district of Sultanahmet, home to a glorious array of mosques, palaces and relics from the Ottoman and Byzantine periods.

Visit the Hippodrome, a former chariot race arena in Ottoman and Byzantine times. Imagine the clatter of chariot wheels as you wander around this city park and hear fascinating facts about the races and events held here centuries ago.

Continue to the Blue Mosque, whose six minarets are a fixture of Istanbul’s skyline. Admire the 17th-century edifice, and marvel at the thousands of bright blue Iznik tiles that coat its interior.

Next, head for the Topkapi Palace, the opulent palace-turned-museum that was home to the Ottoman emperors between the 15th and 19th centuries. Hear anecdotes about the sultans and their entourages, and wonder at the riches of its courts and pavilions, including the jewel-stuffed treasury and priceless displays of Oriental porcelain.

Move on to the Hagia Sophia, built as a basilica in the 6th century before the Ottomans turned it into a mosque in the 15th century. Behold the dome and stunning Byzantine mosaics of this architectural gem as your guide recounts its turbulent history.

In-between sightseeing visits, stop for lunch (own expense) at a local restaurant or cafe and refuel for your explorations in the afternoon.

Finish up at the spellbinding Grand Bazaar. This chaotic, covered bazaar dates from the 15th century, and bursts with stalls peddling carpets, spices and trinkets. Bag some bargains with tips from your guide, and return to your minivan for a hotel drop-off, when your tour ends.

Please note: the order of activities as described above may be subject to change on the day of your tour.
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