This private shore trip visits sites in the historic and famed Old City area of Istanbul including Haghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque) and the Grand Bazaar. It’s the best option for those with limited amount of time on their first visits of Istanbul.
After meeting your driver and licensed guide, we will drive along the old city walls and under the ancient Roman aqueduct on our way to Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia), built by the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, which once was the largest dome in the world, with some of its columns salvaged from the ruins of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. After several conquests and pillages, the building was converted into a mosque after the Conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans. The brilliant Byzantine mosaics were uncovered in the 1900s and the church now is a breathtaking Byzantine-Ottoman museum.
Next, we will visit the Basilica Cistern, a very well preserved, unique marvel of engineering used since the Roman times to supply Constantinople with fresh water. This amazing underground cavern, having a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters of water, stands on 336 beautiful columns that support the cistern, most of which were salvaged from pagan temples destroyed during the Roman Empire’s conversion to Christianity.
Next, we will walk to the Hippodrome, the central square that was once used as a horse racing arena during the Roman and Byzantine times, still adorned with the ancient monuments such as the Snake Column from Delphi, an ancient Egyptian obelisk taken from the Temple of Karnak at Luxor, and the “German Fountain” commissioned as a gift by Wilhelm II of Germany.
Afterwards, the tour will continue with the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii), famous with its blue Iznik porcelain tiles and unique with 6 minarets, built in a rather Byzantine-influenced architecture, and a good example of the famous Ottoman-style architecture.
Finally, we will head towards the Grand Bazaar, the largest and the oldest covered market place in the world with more than 4,000 shops in the labyrinth of streets. Enjoy the colorful array of shops that offer an endless selection of goods that includes jewelry, fabrics, spices and local handicrafts.
After all the visits, we will return back to the port of Istanbul.
Inclusions & Remarks
- Pick-up & drop-off at the port of Istanbul
- Transportation in a fully air-conditioned, non-smoking private vehicle
- Fully escorted by a professional tour guide
- Entrance fees at the sites mentioned
- If you wish to exchange the Grand Bazaar visit with the Spice Bazaar (Egytian Bazaar) instead, please voice your request to your guide at the beginning of the tour.
- Tour guide is English-speaking by default. If it is demanded, other languages are available for private groups or individual arrangements. Other language guides may cost extra.
- Children 0-7 are free.
- Please confirm the days in which the above locations/sights are open before making a booking for that particular day.
- We kindly request our guests to be ready 15 minutes from your departure time.