Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar
Tour description provided by Viator
This small-group sightseeing tour of Istanbul provides the perfect introduction to the fabled city that spans Asia and Europe. On this one-day comprehensive tour you will see how old meets new when you visit Istanbul's four "must-see" historic sites.
If you're staying on the European side of the city, an air-conditioned coach will pick you up in the morning for a full day of sightseeing in the largest city of Turkey. Formally called Constantinople, Istanbul was the capital of the Roman Empire and Europe's wealthiest metropolis. Please see below for a list of the landmarks your small group will visit. On Mondays, when the Hagia Sophia is closed, your group will explore a similar museum. Along the way, stop for lunch.
One of the most famous monuments in both the Turkish and Islamic worlds, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque) is a superb example of classical Ottoman architecture. The mosque has six towering minarets and 260 windows illuminating its vast main chamber, which is decorated with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles.
Now a museum, Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century by the Emperor Justinian, and was one of the largest basilicas in the Christian world. After the Ottoman conquest, it was converted to a mosque and is today one of the most magnificent museums in the world. Take a moment to linger here to admire the fine Byzantine mosaics. (Closed on Monday; it will be replaced with Chora Museum)
The Basilica Cistern (in Turkish it's Yerebatan Sarayı -"Sunken Palace"), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. The cistern, located 500 feet (150 m) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.
The largest and oldest palace in the world, Topkapi is the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire. With its treasury and exotic buildings overlooking the Golden Horn, your visit to Topkapi promises to be a truly fascinating experience. (Please note it's closed on Tuesday.)
Hippodrome and Obelisk:
The Hippodrome was once the heart of Constantinople’s political and sporting life, and the scene of games and riots through 500 years of Ottoman history. Today it is a city park called the At Meydanı (Horse Grounds) because of its function in Ottoman times. The Hippodrome includes the 3500-year-old Egyptian granite Obelisk, brought to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius in 390 AD.
In operation since the 14th century, the Grand Bazaar is one of the world's largest covered markets, with 58 streets and over 4,000 shops. The bazaar is specially known for its jewelry, leather, pottery, spices and carpets. (Please note it's closed on Sunday; additional time will be spent at the other locations.)
- Entrance fees
- Hotel pickup and drop off
- Transport by air-conditioned coach
What isn't included
- Gratuities (optional)
- Food and drinks, unless specified