Duration: 3 Day / 2 Night Region: Istanbul Comments: This short package itinerary is specially created for our guests with limited time in Istanbul. With this tour you will have the opportunity to visit the highlights of Istanbul.
Day 1: Istanbul
Pick up at the Airport and transfer to your Hotel, Rest of day spent at leisure.
Day 2: Istanbul
Pick up at your Hotel to join the Icons Tour This is a boutique tour with a maximum of 14 participants. Topkapi Palace Museum: Tour extensively the residence of the legendary Ottoman Sultans, now converted into a museum. It consists of several exhibition halls, including the porcelain section, the armory, the rooms devoted to holy relics and the Treasury, which houses an impressive display of royal jewels. The Harem section is included!You will enjoy your delicious lunch in the Kybele Hotel restaurant.Underground Cistern: Built by Justinian after 532, the Basilica Cistern stored water for the Great Palace and nearby buildings. Lost to memory, it was rediscovered by Petrus Gyllius, who came to Constantinople in search of Byzantine monuments. Gyllius, who noticed that the local people were lowering buckets through holes in the floors of their houses to retrieve water, found an entrance and thus put this mysterious subterranean architectural surprise back on the map. A mesmerizing attraction, sure to please! Sultanahmet Mosque/Blue Mosque: This mosque was built by Sultan Ahmet I between 1609 and 1616 and is located in the district of old Istanbul that is named after this Ottoman Sultan and it is distinguished by its six slender minarets. The central dome is 43 m in height and 33.4 m in diameter and there are 260 stained glass windows throughout the mosque. Due to the intricately decorated blue, green and red tiles of its interior, it has long been referred to as the Blue Mosque. These tiles, produced and painted by hand in Iznik (ancient Nicaea), are an attraction in and of themselves. The Quranic inscriptions that you will see throughout the mosque were made by Seyyid Kasım Gubari, one of the most famous calligraphers of his time. Roman Hippodrome and Monuments: The ancient Hippodrome was the center of Byzantine social life and the scene of fiercely competitive chariot races. It was located in the square that is now in front of the Blue Mosque and is still the site of ancient relics from its glory days. These are the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine. Remains of the curved end of the Hippodrome wall can be seen on the southwest side of the three monuments. Hagia Sophia Museum: The Hagia Sophia that you can visit today was the primary church of Byzantine Constantinople and was built upon the site of two earlier churches that had been destroyed. Emperor Justinian I (527-565) commissioned the project and had materials brought in from all around his empire for the massive church’s construction. The Hagia Sophia was the most important church of the Christian East. Structurally, it was the first of its design and boasted the largest dome that had yet been engineered which provided a voluminous and well illuminated interior. After Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and was used as such throughout the Ottoman period. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the modern Turkish Republic’s most revered founding father and its first Prime Minister, initiated the process to have the Hagia Sophia transformed into a museum which opened for visitors in February 1935.
Day 3: Istanbul
Pick up at your Hotel to Join the Unique Istanbul Tour This is a boutique tour with a maximum of 14 participants. Bosphorus Cruise: We will cruise on the Bosphorus to allow you the prime perspective from which to view the fine palaces, pavilions, Ottoman houses and seaside neighborhoods along the shores of this famous and historic waterway connecting the Black Sea and the Maramara Sea. Rumeli Fortress (From the sea): The largest fortification for the protection of Istanbul built by Sultan Mehmet II in 1451 before his conquest of the city. This garrison is well preserved and its towers and walls can be seen clearly as our boat passes by. Cable Car to Pierre Loti: Enjoy the beautiful view from the cable car as you climb the hill to the cafe named for the famous French writer and naval officer, Louis Marie Julien Viaud a.k.a. Pierre Loti (1850 -1923), who wrote fiction based on his experiences in Istanbul. Rustem Pasha Mosque: This majestic and surprising little mosque was designed by the most famous of Ottoman architects, Mimar Sinan, for the Grand Vizier Rustem Pasha who had married Princess Mihrimah, one of the daughters of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Its construction took place from 1561 to 1563. The mosque is famous for its exquisite tiles from Iznik that are set in beautiful floral and geometric arrangements and which cover not only the facade of the porch but also the mihrab, minbar, walls, and columns of the interior. City Walls and Golden Horn by vehicle: As you will ride along the shores of the Marmara Sea with your driver and guide, you will follow a major portion of the city’s Byzantine walls and will continue to follow them when we turn inland from the sea. Your guide will discuss the remains of Constantinople’s old city walls and you will hear the history of their construction and about the battles during which the walls either saved the city or were breached by its attackers. Saint Savior in Chora Church Museum: This delightful church was built in the 11th century just within the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople, as the city was known throughout the Byzantine era. The Theodosian Walls were built roughly 1500 meters beyond the original Constantinian Wall at the behest of Emperor Theodosius II during the early 5th century. The significance of the church’s name (Chora means countryside in Greek) lies in the fact that it was constructed upon the site of a much older church that had been built outside of the Constantinian Wall prior to the construction of the Theodosian Walls. The Chora’s dozens of exquisite mosaic depictions, dating from the early 14th century and visible throughout the interior, are what have made it a must see destination when in Istanbul. These are some of the highest quality Byzantine mosaics anywhere that have survived until the present. Ironically, it is because the mosaics were covered with plaster when the church was used for centuries as a mosque that the mosaics have been so well preserved. Suleymaniye Mosque: This elegant mosque with its distinguishing four slender minarets was built on the order of Sultan Suleyman by the most famous of Ottoman architects, Mimar Sinan, between 1550 and 1558. It is the second largest mosque in the city and sits prominently upon the third of old Istanbul’s seven hills. In addition to the mosque, the original complex consisted of a hospital and medical college, four madrasahs as well as a special school for study of the hadith, a hamam, a Caravansarai and a public kitchen. The tomb of Mimar Sinan is located adjacent to the mosque.
After your tour Transfer to the Airport for your return flight
2 Nights Hotel B&B
2 Full day Tours
Professional English Speaking Guide
Entrance fees to Museums
Lunch on Tours (Excluding Drinks)