Ottoman Empire & Byzantine Legacy
Land tour code: IST-03
Cruise port: Turkey - Istanbul
Duration: Full day
Begin the excursion to Istanbul with a sightseeing drive through the business centre of the modern city, across the Galata Bridge, along the banks of the Golden Horn and under the Byzantine Aqueduct of Valens. On the way, you can see the Süleymaniye Mosque, dedicated to Sultan Süleyman The Magnificent.
Continue around the mighty city walls, which once protected Constantinople from the many invasions and attacks it suffered over the centuries.
In the Old City, the first visit will be to the Byzantine Hippodrome, which was once one of the largest chariot race arenas in the Byzantine Empire. Visit the Sultanahmet Mosque, where large groups of pilgrims start their pilgrimage to Mecca. It is decorated with 21000 blue Iznik tiles from where it gets its name, the "Blue Mosque". Walk to the world famous monument of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Church of Holy Wisdom, where you can see the superb mosaics and the marble decorations.
Time for lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch continue the tour with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans. See the famous treasury and the "Spoon maker’s Diamond", the 7th biggest diamond in the world.
For the end of this excursion you will have plenty of free time to stroll around the maze-like complex of the Grand Bazaar; where 400.000 visitors meet daily, among the 4.000 shops and 58 streets!
REMARKS: Shoulders and knees must be covered while visiting the Mosque and shoes must be removed.
Easy walking: some walking over even surface included.