The Legacy of Istanbul: Discovering the delights of the old city such as the Blue Mosque, Haghia Sophia, the Mosque of Suleiman, the Hippodrome and Grand Bazaar, this tour is a full day with lunch in a local restaurant included and an afternoon spent exploring the Topkapi Palace and the tombs of five sultans in the graveyard at Haghia Sophia.
Mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent - Built by the master architect, Sinan, Istanbul’s largest mosque represents the power and dignity of one of the greatest Ottoman sultans.
Hippodrome – Once the centre for sports and entertainment in old Constantinople, the Roman capital, it was also a very important centre for politics.
The Blue Mosque – Named after the delicate designs of the Ottoman tiles which decorate the walls of the shrine, the mosque is identifiable by its’ six minarets.
Haghia Sophia – Boasting the 4th largest dome in the world, this stunning building began as a Byzantine basilica built in the 6th century AD during the reign of Justinian and was an architectural innovation at the time. Converted to a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of the city, by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453, it was converted to a museum in 1935 and is a ‘must-see’ on a visit to Istanbul.
Grand Bazaar – This world-famous covered bazaar is where people have been trading diamonds, carpets, leather, copperware, food and perfumes for centuries and is steeped in mystique. A short demonstration of Turkish rugs is included in the tour.
Topkapi Palace had been the Imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to the 19th century. Its design, initially devised by Sultan Mehmed himself and then enhanced by the architect Sinan, hides clues of the rituals of the structure of Ottoman hierarchy and the running of state affairs. Home to the imperial treasury and the cabinet, as well as being the site of the barracks for the Janissaries, the elite of the army, every corner of the palace tells about the splendour of the Ottomans. Apart from the priceless treasury, a distinguished collection of Chinese porcelains, holy relics, sultan’s costumes and imperial weaponry are exhibited in different sections of the palace.
There are five tombs of Ottoman Sultans within the graveyard at Hagia Sophia. Each of the five tombs actually houses the sultan as well as his family. Each one is individually designed with different decorations, including works by Mimar Sinan. The ceramic panels are the most beautiful examples of the 16th century with purple, red, green and blue flower motives.
Meeting/pick-up point: Hotel pick-up.
Duration: 8 hours.
Start/opening time: At 07:45am.
End/closing time: 3:45pm.
Medical restrictions: This tour involves a lot of walking and may not be suitable for those with walking difficulties.
Others: Please note that St. Sophia is closed on Mondays replaced by the 6th century Basilica Cistern, which provided water to the ancient city. Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays.