CULTURAL TOUR OF ISTANBUL 7 days
With one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe, Istanbul is set on two continents.
In this imposing site, Istanbul proudly preserves the invaluable legacy of its prodigious past while looking forward to a modern future. Fusion between the East and the West, past and present, Istanbul is a mythical city that the variety fascinates the traveler. Observing the sunset at the banks of the Bosphorus, you will suddenly realize why many centuries ago settlers chose to build here.
Day 1 : Istanbul
Meet at the airport with our Anatolia Cultura Travel
. Transfer to hotel for the night.
Day 2 : Higia Sophia museum, Blue Mosque, basilica cistern, Hippodrome ; Bosphorus cruise
This morning we see some of Istanbul's most important sites.
We start visiting the Ayasofia Museum (St Sophia): this ancient basilica, built by Constantine the great in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, is one of the architectural marvels of all time. The beautiful decorations include stunning Byzantine mosaics.
After the Byzantine Hippodrome place we go on visiting the the Blue Mosque, built by the Sultan Ahmet I in the 17th century to outshine the Aya Sofya.
We also visit the Basilica Cistern, the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. Located 150 m west of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula this cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.
A visit of Istanbul will not be complete without a Bosphorus cruise to discover the Ottoman buildings along both the asian and european shores (Public regular ferry). A traditional excursion by boat along the waterway seperating Europe and Asia. The shore is lined with old wooden villas, palaces of marble, fortresses, and small fishing villages. During the excursion, you will pass the magnificent Dolmabahce Palace, and further along, the parks and imperial pavillions of Yildiz Palace. On the coastal edge of this park, is Ciragan Palace, 300 meters of is marble facade faces the shore.
Back from the Bosphorus tour, have a look at the Spice bazaar ; one of those places where you can see the true life of a country. The air here is filled with the enticing aromas of various spices “cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other concievable herb and spice”. Shops selling spices, fruits, vegetables, flowers, turkish delights etc..
Day 3 : Topkapi Palace (including Harem) and archeological museum
We start with a visit to the Topkapi Palace, which was the home of Ottoman sultans for four centuries. The palace is built in Islamic style and consists of a series of chambers, pavilions and kiosks surround garden courtyards. Today it is a rich museum where there is the exhibition of objects used by sultan’s family.
The afternoon is for the archeological museums :
The Istanbul Archaeological museums, which is housing various artifacts from civilizations that had left their traces to different periods of the history, is one of the 10 most important world-class museums designed and used as a museum building. Additionally, it is the first institution in Turkey arranged as a museum. Besides its spectacular collections, the architectural aspects of its buildings and its garden are of historical and natural importance.
This superb museum showcases archaeological and artistic treasures from the Topkapı collections. Housed in three buildings, its exhibits include ancient artefacts, classical statues and an exhibition tracing İstanbul's history. There are many highlights, but the sarcophagi from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon is particularly striking.
Day 4 : Princes' Islands
Take the ferry to one of the Princes' Islands. The largest island in the group, Büyükada (Great Island) shows is impressive from the ferry, with gingerbread villas climbing up the slopes of the hill and the bulbous twin cupolas of the Splendid Otel providing an unmistakable landmark. It's a truly lovely spot to spend an afternoon. We will take a tour of the island by Phaeton (horse and cart) and will pass elegant old wooden mansions and beautiful natural scenery. Return by ferry.
Day 5 : Dolmabahçe Palace ; Istiklal Street
One of the most glamorous palaces in the world, built by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire with the last of Ottoman Sultans was residing there. Dolmabahce Palace has a great meaning for Turkish people since the supreme leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had used the palace as a residence and spent the most serious period of his illness and he passed away in this palace. After the foundation of the Turkish Republic in Ankara, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk transferred all government functions to the youthful capital, but on his visits to Istanbul, Ataturk occupied only a small room at Dolmabahce Palace as his own. Later on, it was converted into a museum. It is wandered with a special sense of respect. The palace has an area of 45,000 m2 (11.2 acres), and contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths (hamam) and 68 toilets.
Then we go on Taksim Square. This is a major tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops, and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul. Taksim Square is also the location of the Monument of the Republic which was crafted by Pietro Canonica and inaugurated in 1928. The monument commemorates the 5th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, following the Turkish War of Independence.
We walk down to the Istiklal Street, one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends. Located in the historic Beyoglu (Pera) district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, 1.4 kilometers long, which houses boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants.
Back to hotel for the night.
Day 6 : Saint Savior in Chora ; Cable Car to Pierre Loti ; Suleymaniye Mosque ; Grand Bazaar
The Saint Savior in Chora Church Museum is one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Istanbul. The walls are decorated with superb 14th century frescoes and mosaics on a gold background. This delightful church was built in the 11th century just within the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople, as the city was known throughout the Byzantine era. The significance of the church's name (Chora means countryside in Greek) lies in the fact that it was constructed upon the site of a much older church that had been built outside of the Constantinian Wall, prior to the construction of the Theodosian Walls.
Cable Car to Pierre Loti: Enjoy the beautiful view from the cable car as you climb the hill to the café named for the famous French writer and naval officer, Louis Marie Julien Viaud a.k.a. Pierre Loti (1850 -1923), who wrote fiction based on his experiences in Istanbul .
Suleymaniye Mosque : This elegant mosque with its distinguishing four slender minarets was built on the order of Sultan Soliman the Magnificent by the most famous of Ottoman architects, Mimar Sinan, between 1550 and 1558. It is the second largest mosque in the city and sits prominently upon the third of old Istanbul's seven hills. In addition to the mosque, you can see the mausoleum of the Sultan himself and Roxelan's. The tomb of Mimar Sinan is located adjacent to the mosque.
Grand Bazaar: The oldest and the largest covered market place in the World with nearly 4.000 shops full of rich collections of carpets, jewelleries, leather, and souvenirs.
Back to hotel for the night.
Day 7: Return
Transfer to airport for return flight.Groupe size:
Possibility to organize according to your needs.
Please note that this is a sample cultural tour. Possibility to modify the itinerary add/remove days and/or combine with cultural visits.Inclusions of our services:
English / French / Spanish / German speaking licensed tour guide.
All transfer and transportations necessary for the respect of the itinerary.
All accommodations in hotel according to your needs
All breakfast are included in the accommodations. Lunches as per your needs.
Dinners as per your needs.
All entrances fees as per your needs.
Prince's Islands trip
Exclusions of our services:
Flights (please note that our agency is able to provide domestic and international flights. If needed please request)
Tips and personal expenses.
Drinks during meals.