We will start our Istanbul tour of the Sultanahmet historical district for a first impression of the gorgeous mosques, palaces and assorted historical oddments that make up this ancient walled capital.
First we visit the Hippodrome, center of Byzantium’s life for over 1000 years, holding 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire.
We proceed to the Blue Mosque, the last of Istanbul’s magnificent imperial mosques, named for the beautiful blue Iznik tiles that cover its walls. Built by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 17th century and designed by a pupil of Sinan, the greatest of Ottoman architects, it is the only imperial mosque with six minarets.
Hagia Sophia, the world’s oldest Byzantine basilica, dedicated by Emperor Justinian in 537 A.D. and then converted to a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. See the beautiful mosaics on display at the museum.
Enjoy free time to explore the exhilarating Grand Bazaar. It was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets and kilims, silks, jewellery, ceramics, icons, and leather goods.
* On Mondays Haghia Sophia Museum is closed, replaced with Chora Museum
* On Sundays Grand Bazaar is closed, replaced with Spice Market