Get ready for an exclusive deluxe Istanbul city tour of discovery, through some of the most unforgettable sights and places in one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Istanbul is the perfect location to embark on a high-class tour, following the course of its magnificent history and inviting culture. Like no other destination in the world, Istanbul can offer limitless possibilities to spend your time, discovering the treasures of a long and tumultuous history, the inspiring results of a unique culture, influenced by centuries of succeeding civilizations and religions. We have assembled the perfect Istanbul old city tour, taking you on a journey through the highlights of Istanbul, showing you the richness and diversity of its cultural heritage. You will have the unique chance to enter a magical world, where emperors and sultans shaped the city that is Istanbul today.
Hagia Sophia - Blue Mosque - Topkapi Palace - Basilica Cistern - Sultan Ahmet Square - Hippodrome - Ibrahim Pasha Mosque - Grand Bazaar
Your private Istanbul tour guide will pick you up from your hotel in the morning and you will set about for an exclusive insight of the city. The luxury van will take you to our first visit of the day, the unique Hagia Sophia Museum. Bearing the traces of its almost 1500 years of history, the magnificent structure is shaped by symbols of Christianity and Islam together, a charming unique landmark. The Hagia Sophia was built in this form in the 5th century, is one of the first examples of Byzantine architecture. The old Christian temple was decorated with columns and mosaics, representing one of the most inspiring and impressive structure during its early age. Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, after taking Constantinople, gave the order to transform the cathedral into a mosque. Until that date, it was one of the main symbols of Orthodox Christianity and it still is until this day. Today it has become a unique museum and you will visit the courtyard, the entrance hall, main and upper galleries, in a very rewarding visit that will take at least 1 hour.
Our next visit in this exclusive Istanbul tour is the Basilica Cistern, known as Sunken Palace, built during the same Byzantine Period as the Hagia Sophia. It was built using structures like columns and pillars taken from collapsed Roman buildings in the area. The mysterious and magical atmosphere inside is the highlight of the visit, with the massive underground Roman columns, beautifully decorated, forming a kind of unusual temple.
The final visit before lunch will be made to another marvel of ancient Istanbul, the Blue Mosque. Known as Sultanahmet Mosque, this unique structure is one of the most beautiful examples of religious Muslim architecture. Famous for its blue and green mosaic tiles decorating its interior walls, this magnificent mosque is still being used, although it was built more than 400 years ago.
Taking a breath from all these wonders of the city, you will have lunch in a high-quality popular restaurant, known as Pudding Shop, overlooking the Hippodrome. The traditional Turkish cuisine will offer the finest tastes and aromas. You will have a choice of delicious vegetables or meat dishes, including soup, main course at your choosing, seasonal salad and the famous dessert.
After this culinary feast, the top class Istanbul city tour will continue with a 45-minute walk through the Hippodrome, where ancient horse and chariot races used to be held, as well as celebration or executions. All through the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, this place was the focus of the most important events. The structure is beautifully decorated with Roman, Egyptian and Ottoman monuments.
Ibrahim Pasa Mosque
Near the Hippodrome, the beautiful Ibrahim Pasha Palace can be seen. This palace hosts the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, which will be the highlight of our next visit. Ibrahim Pasha used to be the grand vizier of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and an important figure of the empire until he has dramatically been executed at the end of the sultan’s reign. His palace is a very charming building and has been transformed to host this interesting museum, displaying exquisite examples of Islamic calligraphy, traditional tiles, and rugs, as well as an ethnographic exhibition of various cultures throughout Turkey, especially the nomad people groups. The 45-minute tour will take you through the history and cultures of the country by visiting displays that recreate traditional rooms and dwellings.
Ending our city tour in Istanbul through some of the most impressive landmarks of Istanbul, we will visit another symbol of the wealth and power of the Ottoman Empire, the very heart of its rule. The Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman sultans, was built on the slopes of Sarayburnu, on the background of the Bosporus and the Marmara Sea. This luxurious and opulent palace will be the perfect ending to our exclusive Istanbul tour. The Topkapi Palace features a delightful combination of styles, following the countless modifications and restorations along the years. But the most important treasure of this place lies within, with a famous museum following the history of the Ottoman Empire, with the impressive treasury, dynasty clothing, harem life, and sacred religious relics are displayed in an overwhelming image of wealth and luxury.
The Istanbul old city tour will finish at about 17.00, but if you have not visited the Grand Bazaar yet, your private guide will happily lead you there, giving you precious information and advice. The Grand Bazaar is the most popular shopping area in the Istanbul city, with everything you could imagine, from luxurious jewelry and leather products to traditional and artisanal products and food. There are over 4000 shops here in an area of 58 covered streets, so you might feel overwhelmed. Your guide will be happy to give you the best tips and direct you to the best shops. At the end of the day, you will be transferred back to your hotel in the luxury private van.
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