A Tale of Two Continents, Istanbul-Style: Europe & Asia
(Prices are per person and in USD)
Included sites: the Spice Market, Bosphorus Strait cruise, Yoros Castle, Kanlica, and Cengelkoy
Duration: 8 Hours
Our day begins at the Spice Market (also known as the Egyptian Bazaar). Built in 1660 as part of the Yeni Cami ("New Mosque'') complex, the revenues collected from traders coming from Egypt were used to maintain the complex’s school, hospital and baths. Imagine the fragrant scent of herbs coming from all over the Orient, emanating from the mounds of spices, herbs and teas, just as it did 400 years ago. At the Spice Bazaar, you will understand why Istanbul was the last stop of the Silk Road! Next, we board a public ferry and start our cruise up the Bosphorus Strait.
The Bosphorus is a narrow waterway that marks the border between Europe and Asia, connecting the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. It is a busy hub of ships, and as we move among them, we'll pass the famous late-Ottoman-era palaces of Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi. Gliding by Istanbul's famous wooden mansions, or yali, we'll pass by many of these villas of the 19th and 20th centuries, sitting comfortably alongside contemporary homes; it is fun to see the varying architectural styles of different eras and centuries mingling together.
We disembark at the former fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi, on the Asian side, where the Black Sea and Bosphorus Strait meet. Famous for its seafood restaurants, we suggest stopping here for some lunch prior to continuing onto the ruins of Yoros Castle. Built on a hilltop by Genoese settlers in 1190, the castle has unparalleled views of the Black Sea and Bosphorus Strait. From here, we continue with a panoramic drive along the Asian coast of the Bosphorus, visiting the picturesque seaside districts of Kanlica and Cengelkoy. Kanlica is a humble neighborhood, a quintessential, old-world Bosphorus district; its traditional architecture and distinctive local yogurt have rendered it a much-beloved neighborhood. Elegant Cengelkoy is where many Ottoman-era mansions and summer residences still stand. It’s also renowned for its orchards and cucumbers.
Afterwards, we will return to the European side of the city via the Bosphorus Bridge.
This private tour includes: