This tour introduces you to Istanbul's most beloved and famous landmarks: legendary Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Museum and The Grand Bazaar.
Traveling by coach from the pier, your first stop is Topkapi Palace. This UNESCO World Heritage Site served as the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for more than 400 years. The palace is located where the Acropolis of Byzantium once stood, on the peninsula overlooking the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. The Palace complex covers an area of 700,000 square meters and it is surrounded by five kilometers of walls. The palace consists of courts, pavilions, mosques, fountains and a beautiful treasury section. One of the richest collections of French, Japanese & Chinese porcelain and the most valuable pieces of the treasury of Ottoman Empire are on display in the pavilions of the Palace.
Another attraction of this tour is Hagia Sophia Museum, the Church of Divine Wisdom, which is considered as the eighth wonder of the world by many art historians. It is certainly a masterpiece of architecture since it is one of the few structures of such huge dimensions to have stood erect for so long. The work of Anthemius of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus (both from the south-west Aegean part of Asia Minor) was completed in 537 A.D. and kept its unique status as a temple for 1,000 years. After the conquest of Istanbul, it was converted to a mosque and continues to survive today thanks to the additions of Great Architect Sinan that he made in order to protect the building. In 1934, it was converted into a Museum by the order of Kemal Atatürk.
Your final stop is at the Grand Bazaar. The largest and the oldest covered market place in the world with more than 4,000 shops housed in the labyrinth of streets. The city-like bazaar is completely covered and has continued to grow in size over the years.
Please note: On Tuesdays,the Topkapi Palace will be replaced with the Beylerbeyi Palace. On Mondays, the Hagia Sophia Museum will be replaced with the Chora Museum. This tour includes approximately 3 hours of walking done at a quick pace which includes a downhill walk over an uneven surface and there are steps to negotiate at Topkapi Palace. The tour is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Comfortable, flat walking shoes are strongly recommended. The covered section of the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays, being replaced with an orientation drive along the Golden Horn and city walls. The order of the sites visited may change to avoid the crowds. Please expect dense traffic conditions in Istanbul.