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There is no place on earth like Istanbul and our nine hour excursion will immerse you in this vibrant, colourful and fascinating city straddling the Bosphorus, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Many empires have held sway in the place once called Constantinople including the Greeks, Romans, Venetians and the Ottomans.
The historic heart of old Istanbul is the Sultanahmet district where we will find remnants of the Byzantine Hippodrome where horse and chariot racing once drew crowds of 100,000 or more. Nearby is the Kaiser’s German fountain, the bronze Serpent Column of Delphi, the Egyptian Obelisk and the Walled Obelisk of Constantine VII.
Recognized across the globe is the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet, perhaps more popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the stunning hand painted blue tiles inside. It also has six minarets. Whether you are inside or outside it is well worth taking a few minutes just to gaze and let the amazing beauty sink in. The grave of Sultan Ahmet lies inside the mosque.
Across the square sits the imposing Church of the Holy Wisdom of God or Hagia Sophia, once a church, then an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture.
After lunch we will visit the incomparable Topkapi Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If all this still leaves you with a thirst for more discovery you can do no better than explore the sights, sounds and colours of Istanbul’s incredible Grand Bazaar, with 4000 shops and stalls, 58 streets under one roof, 400,000 visitors daily and millions of things for sale. Not least carpets, rugs, jewellery and leather.
This excursion will give a taste of Istanbul you are unlikely to forget. A gentle walking tour is available for this itinerary – please contact us for more information.