If the thought of walking through ancient Mosques, seeing spectacular Ottoman architecture and hearing the call of the muezzin has you thinking about exotic adventures in faraway lands, then a holiday to Turkey is for you. Start your sightseeing holiday in Istanbul by visiting the Hagia Sophia. Built in the 532, the Hagia Sophia started as an Orthodox Basilica, was changed to a Mosque and stands today as a museum that is considered the ultimate embodiment of Byzantine architecture. Move on over to Topkapi Palace for Ottoman architecture. Topkapi Palace, built in 1459, contains holy Muslim relics such as Mohammed's Cloak as well as his sword.
More sightseeing can be done on one of the many boat tours in Turkey. Take a cruise on the Bosphorus Sea and see sights such as Topkapi Palace by sea, theMaiden's Tower and Selimiye Barracks (made famous by Florence Nightingale). Take a tour on the Marmara Sea and cross to the Asian side of Turkey where you can purchase souvenirs such as hand-made sweaters and woven rugs at one of the many bazaars.
Fairy Chimneys, underground cities,souvenir shopping at the Grand Bazaar, enjoying long soaks in a Turkish Bath and visiting theHippodrome are several more of the exciting attractions that Turkey has to offer.
BYZANTINE & OTTOMAN RELICS TOUR
Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Topkapı Palace, Sultan Tombs.
Your private guide will come to meet you at your hotel if you stay in the Old City. For guests coming from outside of Old City, a meeting point is arranged and details are sent by the tour consultant.
Then we discover stunning Old City with these visits:
Hagia Sophia: As one of the attributes of Jesus Christ, ‘Holy Wisdom’ Church Hagia Sophia was built by Byzantine emperor I. Justinian and his big love Theodora. The biggest cathedral of its time and presents amazing marble and mosaic work. It was converted to mosque during the Ottoman time by adding up the minarets, the mosaics covered by plaster and recently revealed, serving as a museum for visitors all around the world.
Byzantine Hippodrome: The Hippodrome witnessed the biggest competition between teams of Blues and Greens with chariot racing as it was the most popular sport of Byzantine times. The The Egyptian Obelisk, the serpentine column and the German fountain of Willhelm II are sites to be visited.
Blue Mosque: This stunning mosque with 6 minarets was built during the Ottoman times by Sultan Ahmet. Even though it is called as Sultanahmet Mosque by Turks, it is also called Blue Mosque because of its incredible hand-made quartz tiles.
Topkapi Palace: The house of 24 Sultans of Ottomans is full of exhibitions of relics, Sultans’ costumes, swards, guns, treasury, thrones. The harem section is not included in this tour.
Grand Bazaar: The oldest and largest shopping mall of the world, Grand Bazaar has more than 4000 shops, 60 streets, selling jewelry, ceramics, carpets, copper, leather etc, and it is the only historical market in the world that attracts between 250.000 and 400.000 visitors a day.
Topkapı Palace: As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a museum and as such a major tourist attraction. It also contains important relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammed's cloak and sword.The Topkapı Palace is among the monuments contained within the "Historic Areas of Istanbul", which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and is described under UNESCO's criterion iv as "the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces of the Ottoman period.
BOSPHORUS & TWO CONTINENTS TOUR
Discover the Bosphorus on a boat.
Between all the activities you can do while staying in Istanbul, you can’t miss to take a boat trip on the Bosphorus, it’s a magical moment, something unique.
The Bosphorus Strait, which separates the city in half and connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea is one of the symbols of Istanbul. Two large suspension bridges span it (soon to be three) and a unending stream of boats pass through it 24/7. It is a unique strait in the world of 32 km in length, splitting a city in two, but also Europe and Asia.
During your cruise on the Bosphorus you will admire a splendid panorama of the city; many monuments are fully visible only by boat, like the great palaces of Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi,Çamlıca Hill, the University of Galatasaray and many more ... Some days you even see dolphins.
Çamlica Hill is located within the borders of Üsküdar district, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, near the first suspension bridge. Camlica, a place with two hills overlooking the Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea, is one of the most favored promenades in Istanbul, and also one of the highest and most charming places in the city. It's divided into two sections as "Büyük Çamlica" and "Kücük Çamlica", meaning "Big" and "Small". Buyuk Camlica is 267 meters above sea level and the other one is 228 meters.
Egyptian Spice Bazaar is next to the Yeni Mosque, the Spice Bazaar, or Misir Carsisi, is a mystical eastern fantasy. For centuries, the Turkish have been coming to the Spice Bazaars instead of the doctors for centuries old remedies, and even for modern day illnesses. Herbal remedies can often alleviate symptoms for diseases like cancer and remedies for infertility, weight loss.
Dolmabahçe Palace is The Ottoman dynasty firmly secured a place in history as a powerful and ambitious empire. At one point they ruled nearly half the world and their reign successfully lasted more than 400 years. The pinnacle time of their seat in power was in 1453 and the event was the capture of Constantinople which they made their capital.
Yıldız Royal Garden; Here it’s a nice oxygen break from the noise and rat-race of the city. Take a walk in the imperial gardens ornamented with some kiosks and beautiful vegatation in the middle of Istanbul. Witness of the beauty of Yıldız Royal Garden as reminder of the farmdable Ottoman Empire.
PRINCE'S ISLAND TOUR
Princes’ Islands Features:The nine small islands about 20 km (10.5 miles) southeast of the center of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara (map) were called the Princes Islands by foreign chroniclers because of Byzantine emperors' practice of sending bothersome princes there to be blinded, exiled or executed, but today's citizens of Istanbul call them simply Adalar ("The Islands").
In medieval times they were the sites of monasteries, away from the bustle and temptations of the city, but with the advent of steamships and convenient ferryboat service the 19th century, the four larger islands—Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kınalıada— became summer resorts. Istanbul's wealthy Ottoman families, especially Greeks, Jews and Armenians, built elaborate Victorian summer cottages along the narrow island-village streets.
OPTIONAL TOUR FOR TRANSIT PASSENGERS OVER 6 HOURS
Enjoy this 6 hours tour of the most historical and legendary places to visit during your stay in Istanbul.
During the tour we will be able to see the most significant historical sights of the city. Visit wall of constantine, Photo break on Galata Bridge, Sultan Ahmet Square, Obelisk, lunch, return to Airport.
Sultan Ahmet Square
WHIRLING DERVISHES CEREMONY & SUFI MUSIC CONCERT
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony : The Mevleviye are a Sufi order founded in 1273 in Konya, from where they gradually spread throughout the Ottoman Empire. Today, Mevleviye can be found in many Turkish communities throughout the world but the most active and famous places for their activity are still Konya and Istanbul.
Mevleviye are known for their famous practice of whirling dances. At their dancing ceremonies, or Sema, a particular musical repertoire called ayin is played. This is based on four sections of both vocal and instrumental compositions using contrasting rhythmic cycles and is performed by at least one singer, a flute-player (neyzen), a kettledrummer and a cymbal player.
The Turkish night show highlights the dance traditions of various regions of Turkey, complete with traditional costumes and of course, exhilarating belly dancers, this lively performence is a great way to enjoy traditional Turkish music, dancing and join in the festivities during audience participation.