Istanbul Full Day Old City Tour
Duration : 8 hours
Operated : Everyday except Tuesday (Haghia-Sophia is closed on Monday, so on that day we visit the Kariye (Chora) Museum)
Guide in : English, (Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic : need our confirmation)
Hotel Pick-up & drop-off
Entrance fees as per itinerary
Guide and Air-conditioned Vehicle
What is Excluded?
Tips and gratuities
Half Day Bosphorus Cruise Tour
Half Day Asia Tour (afternoon)
Full Day Bosphorus Cruise & Asia Tour
Full Day Princess Island Tour
Istanbul by Night Tour
Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum at the Turkish Republic, Hagia Sophia has always been the precious of its time. The first Haghia Sophia was partially burnt during an uprising. It was repaired by Theodosius II and opened to worship in 415, but was burned to the ground during another public uprising in 532.After the revolts, Emperor Justinian determined to build an unparalleled place of worship and entrusted two architect-engineers from Anatolia, Isidoros and Anthemios, with the task. Building materials were brought in from all the Mediterranean countries. In addition, the columns of a number of Pagan temples in Anatolia, including the Temple of Artemis, were dismantled and used in the building. The construction lasted five years, and Haghia Sophia was once again open to worship. The structure standing today is that which was built as a church by Justinian. Haghia Sophia was occasionally damaged, but was repaired and additions were built. Despite the changes, its essence remains untouched. (Haghia-Sophia is closed on Monday, so on that day we visit the Kariye (Chora) Museum, a former church which houses the most important surviving Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in the world.
Blue Mosque This imperial mosque is an example of classical Turkish architecture, and it is the only mosque that was originally built with six minarets. Although it is popularly known as the Blue Mosque, its real name is Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Befitting his original profession, its architect Mehmet Aga decorated the interior fastidiously like a jeweler. Built between 1609-1616, the mosque used to be part of a large complex, including a covered bazaar, Turkish baths, public kitchens, a hospital, schools, a caravanserai, and the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmet. Some of these social and cultural buildings have not survived to our day. The architect was a student of Sinan, the greatest architect of classical Turkish architecture. He applied a plan used previously by his master, but on a larger scale. There are three entrances to the mosque interior. The wealthy and colorful vista inside created by the paintings, tiles and stained glass complements the exterior view. The interior has a centralized plan; the main and side domes rise on four large columns that support broad and pointed arches. The walls of the galleries surrounding the three sides of the interior chamber are decorated by over 20,000 exquisite Iznik tiles. The areas above the tiles and the inside of the domes are decorated with paintwork.
The Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi) in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world with 60 streets and 5,000 shops, and attracts between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. It is well known for its jewellery, hand-painted ceramics, carpets, embroideries, spices and antique shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for leather, gold jewellery and the like. The bazaar has been an important trading centre since 1461 and its labyrinthine vaults feature two bedestens (domed buildings), the first of which was constructed between 1455 and 1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bazaar was vastly enlarged in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and in 1894 underwent a major restoration following an earthquake.
The Hippodrome of Constantinople (Turkish: Sultanahmet Meydani, At Meydani) was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydani (Sultan Ahmet Square) in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving. It is sometimes also called Atmeydani (Horse Square) in Turkish
Topkapi Palace is the largest and oldest palace in the world to survive to our day. In 1924 it was turned into a museum at Ataturk's request. Situated on the acropolis, the site of the first settlement in Istanbul, it commands an impressive view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. The palace is a complex surrounded by 5 km of walls and occupies an area of 700,000 sq. m at the tip of the historical peninsula. Following the conquest of the city in 1453, the young Sultan Mehmet moved the capital of the empire to Istanbul, His first palace was located in the middle of the town. The second palace, which he built in the 1470's, was initially called the New Palace, but in recent times it came to be known as the Topkapi Palace. Topkapi is a classical example of Turkish palace architecture. It consists of tree- shaded courtyards, each serving a different purpose and opening onto one another with monumental gates. The courtyards are surrounded by functional buildings. From the time of its construction, the palace developed constantly with alterations and additions made by each sultan.
Rustem Pasha Mosque was designed by Ottoman imperial architect Mimar Sinan for Grand Vizier Damat Rustem Pasha. It is located above the Hasircilar Carsisi, the Weavers' Market, in the Eminonu district next to the Golden Horn, in the Tahtakale neighborhood of Istanbul. To the west of the mosque is a cemetery, and a square was later added behind its qibla wall. As indicated by a four-line inscription. It was constructed in the place of a Byzantine church converted into a mosque in the fifteenth century by Haci Halil Aga.
The Golden Horn, or Halic in Turkish, is a horn-shaped fyord on the European side of Istanbul and is fed by two small streams. It is a natural harbor where Byzantine and Ottoman fleet and commercial ships were anchored. Today, it's surrounded by parks and promenades with ancient sites around it. Its name comes from the color of the water when at sunset it shines with a gold color because of the reflection of the sun. There is no specific visit or stop, we just pass/drive over.