Your tour starts with a brief stop at the Hippodrome, once the sporting and social center of the Roman capital of Constantinople, and still home to a few remaining obelisks. You then continue to the Byzantine basilica, Hagia Sophia, where you’re sure to be dazzled by the 30 million gold tesserae (tiny mosaic tiles) and the great Calligraphic Panes that line the interior.
Put your haggling skills to test and find a bargain at the Grand Bazaar, or simply observe the trade of diamonds, perfume, food, and rugs, before moving on to the Sultan Ahmet-inspired masterpiece—The Blue Mosque. Admire the finely decorated Ottoman tiles and stained-glass windows on your way to the solemn Tomb of Sultan Ahmet.
After lunch, meander through the regal rooms of the Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries. See the imperial treasury and its collection of Chinese porcelain, costumes, and weaponry. Your tour is complete with a visit to the 16th-century Rustem Pasha Mosque, home to many of the finest Ottoman tile-works. The colorful, handmade Iznik tiles that cover the walls provide a fitting end to your day.
InclusionsRoundtrip transportation to and from your Istanbul hotel Exclusions
Admission to the Harem Section of Topkapi Palace
Guided tour of Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace
Istanbul City Center (Hotel Pickup)