- 15/06/2017 at 2:55 pm #8629
Full Day Istanbul City Tour
A unique chance to discover the best things old Istanbul has to offer in just one day, this Istanbul tour is actually made of two half day tours, the morning and the afternoon guided walking tours in the old city. This full day of sightseeing will take through millennia of history and a diversity of cultures and civilization that existed in this magnificent city. The Istanbul Old City Tour also has a break, allowing you to have lunch. Lunch is not included. This is an advantage: you get to choose where you have lunch, and how much you spend, from a quick snack, sandwich or picnic to a full meal. As opposed to other tours around the city, this one is specially designed to allow enough time to delve into the unique landmarks which we will visit, with optional visits and time to rest and breathe the air of culture and history.
This Old Istanbul Guided Walking Tour operates every day, though you must keep in mind that Hagia Sophia is closed on Monday, and Topkapı Palace is closed on Tuesday. If you take the tour on Monday or Tuesday, we invite you to re-join the tour on the following day to visit the place you missed (Hagia Sophia or Topkapı Palace) at no additional charge.
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Istanbul Tour Itinerary
We will pick you up from your hotel at about 8:30 in the morning.
First on our list is the Topkapi Palace, one of the wonders of the city. This beautiful and old palace is one of the biggest in Istanbul and represented the residence of the sultans for about 400 years. Built under the Sultan Mehmed II from 1459, the palace contains several courtyards and buildings, being listed as a UNESCO heritage site. The palace has been transformed into an interesting museum, with hundreds of rooms and chambers, a testament to the wealth and lifestyle of Ottoman sultans. Optionally, you can also visit the Harem within the palace, a very intriguing and interesting space, occupying a part of the private apartments of the sultan.
Following the palace, we will head towards the Basilica Cistern, one of the oldest ancient sites within the city represents the largest underground water cisterns that were built in the city ages ago. The Basilica Cistern or the Underground Water Palace, as it is known, has been built around the 6th century, during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian. This exciting visit will offer you a unique chance to discover a truly amazing building underground. A wonder of ancient engineering and a treasure of archaeology, this landmark will offer a different view of Istanbul.
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Continuing the tour, we are headed towards the Roman Hippodrome, an ancient circus in Byzantine Constantinople, this site still holds some of the fragments of the old structure, being transformed in a charming square (Sultan Ahmet Square). In the past, this space used to be the entertainment and social center of the city, while today still attracts many locals and tourists. From the old Hippodrome, you can now observe the Serpent Column, the Walled Obelisk, the Obelisk of Thutmose III and many others.
The morning half day tour of Istanbul will end around noon in Sultanahmet square, where you can admire the beautiful silhouette of Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or the Blue Mosque, as it is known.
Between 12:30 and about 13:30, there is a lunch break and you can decide where to take it. You choose whatever you’d like for lunch, or you can go somewhere else, or you can bring your own picnic and have it while sitting on a bench in the Hippodrome—your choice.
The tour stops at Sultanahmet’s famous Lâle Restaurant – the world famous in Hippie days as the Pudding Shop.
Recommended Tour: Morning Bosphorus Cruise.
The Istanbul tour continues with St. Sophia Museum, where you can discover centuries of history and one of the most interesting landmarks of the old city. A former Orthodox patriarchal basilica and former mosque, the building now houses an important museum. With almost 2000 years of history, Hagia Sophia was for many years the Patriarchate of Constantinople, with a short period as a Roman Catholic cathedral. Later, it became a mosque and in 1935 it was transformed into a museum. A beautiful example of Byzantine architecture, the building has a massive dome and other intricate and exquisite architectural features.
The afternoon Istanbul city tour will continue in a grand way, with the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or the Blue Mosque, as it is known. A true wonder of the East and one of the most beautiful historic and religious landmarks in Istanbul, the Blue Mosque is renowned worldwide. Still being used as a mosque after about 400 years since it was built by Sultan Mehmed I, it has a beautiful and charming architecture, with one main dome, eight secondary domes, and six minarets. The beauty of the edifice also lies within, with beautiful blue ornaments and magnificent stained glass windows.
Close to the Hagia Sophia, we will admire one of the oldest monuments in Istanbul, the Milion Stone, which was part of a bigger monument complex, marking the starting place for all distances within the Byzantine Empire. After it disappeared in the 16th century, fragments have been found closely and are now displayed.
TOMB OF SULTAN MAHMUD
We will continue our Istanbul tour among the ancient wonders of Istanbul with a newer location, the Tomb of Sultan Mahmud, constructed in a true Ottoman Empire style, by the son of Sultan Mahmud II.
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Continuing the tour, we pass over to visit an old Ottoman Cemetery, where we will keep a moment of silence while we admire the old stone monuments.
CEMBERLITAS (THE BURNT COLUMN)
Our quest to discover the treasures of history will take us next to the Burnt Column (Cemberlitas), how it is known the Column of Constantine, an old Roman monument, consisting of a tall column ordered by the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. With over 2000 years of history, this column is a true symbol of the Roman Istanbul, celebrating the declaration of Byzantium as the capital of the Roman Empire. The column stands tall in the center of the Cemberlitas Square. While here, we will also take a look at the Turkish baths (hammam)
Around 16:30, the tour ends at the entrance of the Grand Bazaar, where everyone will decide how they will visit this vibrant and colorful market. Unlike other tours, that take you to a particular shop within the bazaar to spend an entire hour and your money, this tour will leave it to you to decide where you wish to go and what you want to buy. We will surely give you advice on what are the best shops and how you can get back to your hotel afterward.
#For more information, you can check this Wikipedia page: Full List of Byzantine Monuments.
Inclusions of the Istanbul City Tour
- Complimentary Hotel pick-up
- All entrance fees (except Harem section)
- Professional English speaking guide
- All Local taxes
Exclusions of the Istanbul City Tour
- Personal Expenses
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