Expierience the Magic of 1001 Nights on a 4-Day Trip

A trip to Turkey isn't complete without a visit to the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul. Straddling either side of the Bosphorus Strait, the city is a warren of busy markets, magnificent mosques, and other historic buildings. All of this is interspersed with famous landmarks including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia. Istanbul was the capital city of three empires – Roman, Latin and Ottoman.

Day 1.

Arrival to Istanbul airport, meet and transfer to hotel.

Day 2.

Byzantine & Ottoman Relics - Full Day Tour

Tour of "Sultan Ahmet Center", the heart of the "Old City" from where the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires were ruled.
The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque (Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi), once the Church of Divine Wisdom, with its innovative architecture, rich history, religious significance and extraordinary characteristics has been fighting against time for centuries, was the largest Eastern Roman Church in İstanbul. Constructed three times in the same location, it is the world’s oldest and fastest-completed cathedral. Blue Mosque, facing Hagia Sophia, famous with its blue İznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet.
Hippodrome, center of sportive events (chariot races, athletics) and political activities of the old city. Serpentine Column, Obelisk of Theodosius and German Fountain of Wilhelm II are the monuments decorating the Hippodrome.
Grand Covered Bazaar, most attractive shopping center and the biggest "souk" in the world with nearly 4000 shops selling antiques, jewellery, gold, carpets, leatherware and souvenir.
(Art demonstration of handmade Turkish carpets upon request)

Lunch at a Turkish Restaurant.

Topkapı Palace, residence of Ottoman Sultans exhibiting imperial treasury, sacred Islamic relics of Prophet Mohammed, kitchen, Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy section etc. Live guide commentary is not allowed in special sections. (Harem is not included in the program)
The Hagia Irene located in the outer courtyard of Topkapı Palace is the oldest church of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine). It was also the second largest church in İstanbul after Hagia Sophia. It’s a typical Byzantine structure with its materials and architecture, was built on the site of an old temple in 330.
Sultan Tombs, there are five tombs of Ottoman Sultans within the graveyard at Hagia Sophia.
The ceramic panels are the most beautiful examples of the 16th century with purple, red, green and blue flower motives. Prince robes and a small piece from the Kaaba covers are displayed on the sarcophaguses.

This tour ends approximately at 17:00 and return to the hotel.

Day 3.

Bosphorus Cruise + Dolmabahçe Palace & Two Continents - Full Day Tour

Golden Horn (from the bus), the arm of the Bosphorus and a natural harbour of the historical peninsula separating the old and the new parts of İstanbul where the first colonies settled during the Byzantines. The residential area for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders and other non-muslim minorities.
Drive along the traces of history at Balat viewing Metal Church of St. Stephen the Bulgarian, Jewish Hospital (Or-Ahayim), Fener Orthodox Patriarchate and 22 kms. long Byzantine City Walls, strongest fortification of the middle age.
Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar), mystical smells of different aromas of various spices. Shops selling fruits, vegetables, fish, flowers etc.
Bosphorus Cruise on Plan Tours’ private boat, through the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia, with a possibility to take photographs of marble palaces, ancient wooden villas of Ottoman architecture besides modern residentials and luxurious apartments.
Rumeli Fortress (from the boat – no interior visit), historical armament built by the Conqueror to control and protect the Bosphorus. A unique example of military architecture.

Lunch at a Turkish Restaurant.

Dolmabahçe Palace, recent residence for Ottoman Sultans built by two Ottoman architects Karabet and Nikogos Balyan on a 110.000 m² area and served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. Famous with great collection of European antiquity, furniture and  4.5 tons chandelier, the palace has 285 rooms and 46 halls.

Bosphorus Bridge, unique chance to step from one continent (Europe) to another (Asia) in 2 minutes.
Çamlıca Hill, famous for its widest bird’s eye panoramic view of İstanbul from Marmara Sea to the
Black Sea, gives a chance to see the Bosphorus and Golden Horn from one of the best point of the highest and most appealing places of the city.

This tour ends approximately at 17:00 and return to Hotel.

Day 4.

Free time according to the flight time and transfer to the airport.

Best time for this tour :

April/May/Sept/Oct.

Why visit Istanbul :

Istanbul is the unique city in the World on two continents. Undoubtedly, the most outstanding feature of Istanbul's history is that it was the capital of three universal empires such as the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

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