Discover the emblematic monuments of Istanbul
Istanbul is a multi-millennial city having been the capital of 3 great empires: the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Roman and finally the Ottoman. Today the heritage left by these 3 great civilizations makes Istanbul a unique city in the world, and the Sultanahmet district, the old historic center, a must-visit!
We have created a fun day in a small group (maximum 12 people) accompanied by one of our guides, you will set off to explore the greatest monuments of Istanbul. It’s an intimate day where you will also avoid tourist traps and cut the lines thanks to our guides.
We meet at 9:30 am on the esplanade of Hagia Sophia (we send you the exact meeting point with our confirmation) where we begin our visit by the Grand Mosque of Hagia Sophia / Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi (formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia). Hagia Sophia is an old Byzantine church built by Justinian in 537. It was until its transformation into a mosque by the Turks the largest Christian religious monument in the world. It took no less than 10,000 people to build it. Its dome is impressive: 36 meters in diameter and 56 m above the ground. It was a museum until July 2020, today it is a mosque that still contains many mosaics dating from the Byzantine era that have been updated by archaeologists. The mix between Christian and Muslim art is completely fascinating.
You will then go to visit the Basilica Cistern at the end of the morning, it is the largest underground cistern in Istanbul, it was used to supply water to the city of Constantinople. The Byzantines had built large tanks to store water so as not to be in short supply during the summer. The cistern is a large underground room with columns 8 m high and basins of water. The lighting of the columns combined with the classical music in the background creates a mystical atmosphere.
We will then take you to lunch near the Grand Bazaar in a restaurant specializing in Mardin’s gastronomy. We offer a tasting included in the price where you choose what you want with the guide. After lunch, you will discover the Grand Bazaar (closed on Sundays) and its hans (small workshops that produce goods sold subsequently in the Grand Bazaar). The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets in the world with its 60 streets, 5,000 shops, and more than 2,600 employees. It can attract up to half a million people a day, you will find absolutely everything. Besides souvenirs, counterfeits and various baubles, it is best known and renowned for its jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, carpets, antique stores, and leather.
You will then go to the Suleymaniye Mosque, it is a splendid mosque built by Sinan, the great Ottoman architect of Suleyman the magnificent. It was built between 1550 and 1557. It is for us the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul.
After a small cafe with a magnificent view of the city you will end the day with the spice market or Egyptian market, it is located in the Eminönü district, below the Suleymaniye Mosque. The Egyptian Bazaar was built by the Venetians in 1663 with the money collected with taxes from Cairo, hence the name of Egyptian Bazaar. The Egyptian Bazaar is also called the spice market for the multitude of spice choices found inside.
We are sure that this day will be a journey in time and also a historic discovery of Istanbul.
Note that we are not visiting the Blue Mosque which is currently under renovation and the visit is not worth it.
The walk starts at 9:30 am and ends at around 5:30 pm. We send you the meeting place after confirmation. You can do this tour every day except Monday and Sunday.
We welcome a maximum of 12 participants. We can also privatize the day if you wish.
Lunch is included in the price, we will show you the Turkish gastronomy of East Anatolia, there is something for everyone, even for vegetarians. We also offer you a coffee (or tea) break during the day.
The price is 70 € per person and includes all the tickets for all the monuments visited during the day, lunch, as well as transport. This day is free for children under 8, we also make a price for large families.