Byzantine & Ottoman Relics

Byzantine & Ottoman Relics Special Offer


Day 1

08.30 – pick up from hotels in Taksim area

08.45 – pick up from hotels in Laleli area

09.00 – Tour starts

Hippodrome: Istanbul‘s Byzantine Hippodrome was the heart of Constantinople’s political and sporting life, and the scene of games and riots through 500 years of Ottoman history as well. The site of the arena became a public square, as it still is today, and was given the appropriate name of At Meydanı, the “Square of Horses”. 

Down the long central axis of the arena there was – as was true of all Roman circuses – a raised terrace called the spina, or spine, adorned with a line of statues and monuments. The Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column and the ‘Column of Constantine Porphyrogenitus’ - three of those from the ancient Hippodrome are still standing.

Blue Mosque: This mosque was built by Sultan Ahmet I between 1609 and 1616 and is located in the district of old Istanbul that is named after this Ottoman Sultan and it is distinguished by its six slender minarets. Due to the intricately decorated blue, green and red tiles of its interior, it has long been referred to as the Blue Mosque. These tiles, produced and painted by hand in Iznik (ancient Nicaea), are an attraction in and of themselves. The Quranic inscriptions that you will see throughout the mosque were made by Seyyid Kasım Gubari, one of the most famous calligraphers of his time.

Hagia Sophia: Hagia Sophia is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the history of architecture. It was the cathedral of Byzantine Constantinople for more than a thousand year, and then for nearly five centuries after the Turkish conquest it served as a mosque. It was deconsecrated and converted into a museum in 1934. Nevertheless, it retains a powerful religious, historic and symbolic significance for both Christians and Muslims. Hagia Sophia Museum has been converted into mosque in 2020. 

Aya Irene Church : It is the oldest known Byzantine church in Istanbul and the only Byzantine church that has not been converted into a mosque. According to ancient sources, it was built during the reign of Constantine I (324-337) at the beginning of the 4th century, using the remains of the temples of Artemis, Aphrodite and Apollo from the Roman period.

The lunch will be served in a local restaurant.  

Topkapı Palace: Topkapı Palace was for more than four centuries the imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans and the administrative heart of the empire. In addition to its historical and architectural interest, it houses important collections of porcelain, armour, costumes and jewellery, as well as many precious objects and works of art. It also has in its safe-keeping a number of sacred relics of the Prophet Mohammed.

Grand Bazaar:  One of the largest and oldest covered bazaars in the world, the Grand Bazaar is 30,700 square meters with over 60 streets and alleys and 4,000 shops. While today the Grand Bazaar is no longer the commercial center of Istanbul, it is still one of the best places to get a taste of life in Ottoman-era Turkey.

This tour ends approximately at 17.00.

Photo Gallery

Other Information

Price Includes

    • Taksim and Sultanahmet area pick up and drop off.

    • Fully guided tour with the services of an experienced and licensed English speaking guide

    • Luxury non smoking air conditioned transportation

    • Lunch (drinks not included)

    • All entrance fees

    • V.A.T.

Price Excludes

    • Drinks

    • Gratitudes 

    • Travel insurance

    • Note that items marked as ’optional’ are suggestions; not yet included in the price of the tour

    • Any expenses not noted in the above list of inclusions.

Extra Notes

Please make note of the following:

  • There is a 10% discount for children under the age of 7 and children aged 2 and younger are free.

  • Tour is based on group tour with a maximum of 14 people.

  • Timing specified in the daily itinerary is only for reference, therefore may be subject to change.

  • Please note that the order in which sights are visited may vary.

  • Topkapı Palace is closed on Tuesday, it will be replaced with Istanbul Archaeology Museums.

  • There are no shopping stops made during our tour but if our guests would like to do some shopping following the conclusion of the tour we can be of assistance

  • It is advised to wear conservative clothing when visiting mosques and churches.

  • Please wear comfortable shoes which are also easy to take off since this tour is a walking tour and includes mosque visits.

  • You are kindly requested to present yourself at the pick-up point 15 minutes prior to the advised pick up time

  • Smoking is not permitted in transportation vehicles nor in museums

Booking Conditions

  • 100% fee of tour is required upon reservation together with photocopies of passports.

Cancellation Policy:

  • The following cancellation charges will apply: 

       - Until 7 days before departure – 50% of the package price

       - Less than 7 days before departure – 100% of the package price