(Prices are per person and in USD)
Note: The Hagia Sofia is closed on Monday, the Topkapi Palace Complex is closed on Tuesday, and the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sunday.
Included sites: Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace and Harem Quarters, and the Grand Bazaar
Duration: 8 Hours
Our tour begins with a visit to the ancient open-air Hippodrome, which was once the center of Byzantine civic life. The monuments of the Hippodrome include the Walled Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Thutmose III, and the more recent German Fountain. We continue on to the Sultanahmet Mosque, more familiarly known as the Blue Mosque so named for the 17th century blue and white Iznik tiles that cover the interior.
Next, we visit the Hagia Sophia Museum (Aya Sofya), constructed in 537 A.D. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered to be one of the most magnificent structures ever constructed, and is the fourth-largest in the world. The Hagia Sophia symbolizes the collective power of the Eastern Holy Roman Empire; it was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman period before being declared a museum by Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
We'll continue onto Topkapi Palace, once the administrative heart of the Ottoman Empire. The palace is a sprawling museum whose garden and hundreds of chambers showcase the decadence and refinement associated with Ottoman rule - and the spectacular scale, geographically and politically, on which it was acheived. The grounds include one of the world's largest ceramic collections, with exquisite examples of Chinese, Japanese, Ottoman, and French porcelain. We will also visit the armory, and see the jewel collection, home of the famed “Spoonmaker's Diamond” and the Topkapi Dagger. The tilework, mosaics and carvings that cover the inner and outer walls blend with the lush gardens and orchards, which will truly transport you back in time. We will also see the beautiful Harem Quarters.Be prepared for the most dazzling array of carpets, clothing, jewelry, and leather goods at the legendary Grand Bazaar. Come ready to bargain, and learn a little about what you find from the talkative shopkeepers who work in the labyrinth of streets and covered passages that house the Bazaar's nearly 4,000 shops. The bazaar is a world of its own, abustling marketplace that has kept the same pace for the last five centuries.
This private tour includes: