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Private Tour: Glory of the Two Empires Tour From Istanbul

Private Tour: Glory of the Two Empires Tour From Istanbul
Tours & Sightseeing > City Tours > City Tours
$200
Duration: 7 hours
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Description

Begin your tour by traveling over the Golden Horn and into the ancient side of Istanbul through the crowded business section to reach the ancient Hippodrome. Visit Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, St. Sophia Museum, Underground Cistern and Grand Bazaar.

Begin your tour by traveling over the Golden Horn and into the ancient side of Istanbul through the crowded business section to reach the ancient Hippodrome. For over 1,000 years this was the center of Byzantium life. Afterwards, for another 400 years, it was the social center of the Ottoman Empire. The Hippodrome was the scene of countless political and military dramas, including the famous chariot races. The main monument left today is the impressive granite obelisk, carved in Egypt around 1,500 BC and brought to Constantinople in 390 AD. Next visit the Mosque of Sultan Ahmed I, otherwise known as The Blue Mosque, is renowned for its architectural harmony, proportion and elegance, and is unique as it is the only original mosque in the world with six minarets. Breathtaking stained-glass windows and graceful arabesques decorate this mighty structure. St. Sophia Museum is across from the Blue Mosque and originated in 326 under Constantine the Great. It became Hagia Sophia and was rebuilt on a larger scale during the reign of Emperor Justinian. His intention was that the new building should surpass in splendor all others in antiquity. It is said that 10,000 workers were employed in its construction and marble columns were brought in from temples in minor Asia, Lebanon, Greece and Italy. In 1934, St. Sophia was converted into a museum and is now the most important Byzantine Monument in Istanbul, famous for its immense dome and beautiful frescoes and mosaics. Next on the agenda is the Underground Basilica Cistern, located across from Hagia Sophia. You might think that having so many highlights to visit above ground leaves no need to go under. But you’ll soon discover why this visit is worth every minute. The Basilica Cistern was built in the 6th century to supply water to the nearby palace complex. With 336 Corinthian columns and its brick, cross-vaulted ceiling, this is the largest and the most magnificent covered cistern in Istanbul. And finally you will visit one of the most colorful sites of Istanbul; the Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar is composed of two sections; the covered part and the modern part. The covered part is a whole quarter on its own and is surrounded by a wall which can be entered through eleven gates. The maze of streets and lanes are one of the greatest sights in the city, where various trades such as carpets, jewelry, leather goods, silver; varieties of souvenirs, textile, antiques, and home textile are segregated into particular sections of the bazaar. You will have the chance to explore the exotic atmosphere of the covered part for a brief period of time. You will also have the opportunity to visit the open and modern section of the Grand Bazaar which offers the best artworks and most reliable shopping. During your time in the Grand Bazaar, you will be taken for a presentation on the unique art of Turkish carpets and given additional time to shop. You will have free time for lunch in Grand Bazaar.

Begin your tour by traveling over the Golden Horn and into the ancient side of Istanbul through the crowded business section to reach the ancient Hippodrome. Visit Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, St. Sophia Museum, Underground Cistern and Grand Bazaar.