DAILY TOURS: Istanbul Imperial

Tour Code :ISTREG001
City :ISTANBUL
Tour Name :Istanbul Imperial
Tour Dates :DAILY
Duration :HALF DAY | 08:15 - 13:00
Available Languages :EN

VISITS OF IMPERIAL HIPPODROME, HAGIA SOPHIA CATHEDRAL MUSEUM, BLUE MOSQUE, GRAND BAZAAR

The tour starts by picking-up from the hotel and the guests are transported to the tour meeting point.
This tour covers the main sites, which belong both to Byzantine & Ottoman Empire periods and are located around Sultanahmet Square, the former Imperial Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium which once could hold 100.000 spectators and features objects from all corners of the Empire.

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

Next visit Hagia Sophia, the church of Holy Wisdom which 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.

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.
After the tour the guests will be dropped-off at the hotel.

INCLUDES

- Transportation in fully air-conditioned, non-smoking vehicle
- Pick-up /Drop-off from the city center hotels
- Professional English-speaking tour guide
- Entrance fees to the museums featured on this itinerary

EXCLUDES

- Personal expenses
- Meals and drinks unless specified
- Tips & gratuities
- Optional activities cost
- Turkish visa fee
- Travel and Health insurance

NOTES

- Children of age 2,99 and below are free of charge

Please note:
1. On Mondays, when Hagia Sophia is closed, we visit the Yerebatan Museum (the Underground Roman Cisterns), built by Emperor Justinian in 532, possibly as an enlargement of an earlier cistern of Constantine. The vast awesome columned cavern was the water source for both the Grand Palace of the Byzantine and for the Ottoman’s Topkapi Palace. It is 140 meters long by 70 meters wide with 336 columns. 
2. In winter the Dolmabahçe (Bezm-i Alem Valide) Mosque is visited instead of the Yildiz Royal Gardens
3. 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 
4. While visiting mosques, please cover your shoulders, knees & women, additionally, heads 
5.Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, during Ramadan Festivities (5-6-7 July 2016), Kurban Festivities (12-13-14-15 September 2016), National Republic Day (29 October 2016), and will be replaced by other authentic shops.
6.Spice Market (Egyptian Bazaar) is open on Sundays but closed on the above mentioned holidays
7.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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