DAILY TOURS: Classic Highlights

Tour Code :PER003IST
City :ISTANBUL
Tour Name :Classic Highlights
Tour Dates :DAILY, EXCEPT TUESDAY
Duration :FULL DAY | 08:15 - 17:30
Available Languages :EN

HIGHLIGHTS OF CAPITAL OF THREE EMPIRES, EASTERN ROMAN, BYZANTINE AND OTTOMAN

The tour starts by picking-up from the hotel and guests are transported to the tour starting point

Where in the world can you find monuments of three greatest empires, located on 48ha? - In ISTANBUL only!!! 
Which greatest empires we are talking about? - Eastern Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman
The city's biggest draw remains its historic center Sultanahmet area, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but its cultural and entertainment hub can be found across the city's natural harbor, the Golden Horn, in the Beyoglu district.

IMPERIAL HIPPODROME

Stroll around Imperial Hippodrome, the witness of the bygone epochs and see the impressive granite Obelisk of Theodosius carved in Egypt around 1450 BC; so-called Serpentine Column. The three intertwined bronze serpents form the column. This column was brought from the Temple of Apollo Delphi Greece dedicated to God by the 31 Greek cities who defeated the Persians at Platea in 479 BC; the Colossus or the column of Constantine Porphyrgenitus; the German Fountain or Fountain of Kaiser Wilhelm II that commemorates the alliance of German Empire and Ottoman Empire against the allied powers of Russia, Great Britain, France and Japan before the World War I

HAGIA SOPHIA CATHEDRAL MUSEUM

The church of Holy Wisdom is undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural creations in the world. Nowhere is Istanbul's exceptional status as former capital of both the Christian and Islamic empires more evident than in this monumental basilica crowned with four minarets. Built by the Emperor Justinian circa AD 535, it was converted to a mosque by the conquering Ottoman armies in 1453. But it's only when you enter the building that you get a true sense of its awesome proportions. For a thousand years its dome was the largest in the world - 30 m in diameter, surpassed only in the 16th century with the construction of St Peter's in Rome.

MOSQUE OF SULTAN AHMET (BLUE MOSQUE)

Directly facing Hagia Sophia, rises another architectural masterpiece, the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet or better known as Blue Mosque, perhaps the most instantly recognizable - and unforgettable silhouette on Istanbul's skyline. It was commissioned by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 1600s to rival the grand old lady of Christianity. Peek inside to see the wall-to-wall over 20,000 glazed blue porcelain Iznik tiles, predominantly in shades of blue, that have given the mosque its popular name.

GRAND COVERED BAZAAR

Then, spend some time on the Istanbul’s legendary Grand Covered Bazaar, a labyrinth of over 4,000 little shops, occupying 30.7 hectares. It is everything one dreams an oriental market could be and indeed one of the most fascinating and irresistible attractions of Istanbul. Established  by Mehmet the Conqueror in mid-15th century, it is a small city in itself. Its shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons, and leather goods.

TOPKAPI PALACE - SULTANS IMPERIAL RESIDENCE

Visit Topkapi Palace, the former seating residence of Ottoman Sultans and the most extensive and fascinating monument of Ottoman civil architecture in existence, built between 1459 and 1465. It contains superb and unrivaled collections of porcelains, armor, fabrics, jewels, illuminated manuscripts, calligraphy and many objects of art formerly belonging to the Sultans. The palace is not a single building but a series of graceful interconnecting courtyards.
Spend some time wandering through the beautifully tiled Pavilion of the Sacred Relics, home to some of Christian and Islam's holiest relics. Do not miss one of the highlights of the museum - the Imperial Treasury, which hosts the richest collection of its kind in the world, such as the famous Dagger and the 86-carat Spoon Maker's (or Pigot) Diamond.

LITTLE HAGIA SOPHIA MOSQUE

Formerly the Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus, this remarkable structure with a central dome plan is a former Eastern Orthodox Church dedicated to two Saints in Constantinople, was erected in the 6th century by Justinian and later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire.
It was recognized at the time as an adornment to the entire city, and a modern historian of the East Roman Empire has written that the church, by the originality of its architecture and the sumptuousness of its carved decoration, ranks in Constantinople second only to St. Sophia itself.

INCLUDES

- Transportation by fully air-conditioned, non-smoking vehicle
- Professional English-speaking tour guide
- Entrance fess to the museums featured on the itinerary
- Lunch at the local Turkish restaurant

EXCLUDES

- Any personal expenses
- Any kind of drinks unless specified
- Tips & gratuities
- Optional activities cost
- Turkish visa fee
- Travel and Health insurance

NOTES

1. On Mondays, when Hagia Sophia is closed, we visit the Underground Roman Cistern, which is thought to have been built after the Nika revolt in 532 AD. It was known as the Basilica Cistern during the Roman period, as there was a Stoa Basilica above the pre-existing one at the time. 
2. Harem Section of the Topkapi Palace is not included into the program. Should you wish to visit it, you may do so during the free time your guide will give you
3. While visiting mosques, please cover your shoulders, knees & women, additionally, heads
4. Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, during Ramadan Festivities (5-6-7 July 2016), Kurban Festivities (12-13-14-16 September 2016), National Republic Day (29 October 2016), and will be replaced by other authentic shops.
5. Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar) is open on Sundays but closed on the above mentioned holidays
6. Other languages are available with an extra fee upon request

Disclaimer 
- This is a scheduled motor-coach group 
- Group might consist of up to 40 people 
- Group might include the people of different nationalities, cultures, ages and interests 
- The regular tour is of a good value, but may not be the best choice for those who have special interests and/or concerns about keeping up with, or being held back by, a group. 
- Touring is paced to allow the average traveler reasonable time to enjoy each site

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Kaktüs Tourism Travel Agency - Pera Air and Tourism
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