Istanbul Package Tour 5 days
Day 1 Arrival in Istanbul
Arrival to Istanbul, transfer to the hotel where you will be accommodated for the next three nights. Your hotel will be in the Old City district of Istanbul.
Day 2 Dolmabahce and Bosphorus full day
This tour will start with Golden Horn (Halic) which is an estuary in Bosphorus that extends 7.5 km towards south-west. The Northern shore of Golden Horn is the Pera shore and the Southern one is the natural frontier of the Old City. Golden Horn is not the Bosphorus but an inlet of Bosphorus and it is always a favorite natural port.
You will also visit the Pierre Loti cafe, named after the famous French writer, on top of Eyup Hill by the Golden Horn. Pierre Loti was in fact stationed in Istanbul around 1876-77 and has written a book inspired by his experiences in the city.
Then you will be taken to Spice Market or Egyptian Spice Market of Istanbul that was the last stop for the spices and herbs coming from Egypt which once was an Ottoman land. The tradition continues today with all kinds of local and imported spices along with pastry, Turkish delight, dairy products and other types of high quality nutrition than can give you an idea of the fertility of Anatolian soil. A real festival to eyes, noses and soul.
After the Spice Market, you will be driven along the Bosphorus coastline to visit Rumeli Hisari (Rumeli Fortress) which was built by Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Istanbul, who ended the Byzantium Empire thus the Middle Age as well, as historians say. Next stop is Dolmabahce Palace.
Your visit to Dolmabahce Palace will introduce you to a fine example of the Ottoman-Western fusion architecture. This palace was built as a second residence to the Sultan Abdulmecid and completed in 1856. The palace commands a nice view right on the Bosphorus and its gardens are very pretty, especially in spring and summer. The founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk has died in this palace on November 10, 1938 at 9.05 AM.
You will also driven up to Camlica Hill on the Asian side of Istanbul. With an altitude of 288 meters, you will have the best perception of Istanbul with an uncut and clear view of Old City, Pera, Bosphorus shores, bridges, main roads and other hills. Cross your fingers for clear skies !.
Day 3 Old city and Ottoman throne
Today it is time for Old City region. This tour will first take you to St.Sophia or Hagia Sophia which was the greatest Christian church until the 16th century. It was the upmost symbol of Byzantium. With its great dome that was damaged more than once due to earthquakes and with its immense height and volume, it was built to overshadow every temple built before and after its time. It was converted into a mosque by its conqueror Mehmet II (Fatih Sultan Mehmet) in 1453 and then into a museum by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1935.
Constructed between 1609 and 1617 by Sultan Ahmet I, Blue Mosque includes a complex of several buildings including an Islamic theological school, a hospital and a kitchen The main idea behind the architectural plans of this great building was to eclipse the "grandeur" of St.Sophia in every aspect. With its gorgeous tiles (famous Iznik tiles), featuring a six minarets design instead of four, and with the usage of natural lighting as an ambient creator inside, it is one of the glorious examples of Islamic art.
The Grand or Covered Bazaar which was the trade center of commerce in its times features over 4,000 shops, over 20 hans (passage like market place) and 65 streets. It is an unbeatable living history with a lively eastern atmosphere waiting for the visitors who also like bargaining or chit-chatting with merchants who are ready to offer a glass of tea (cay) any time of the day.
Hippodrome is the arena with the scenes of chariot races and also cultural focus of the Byzantine (Roman) Empire. Remains of the three of the great monuments can be seen: the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine. The square, with its surroundings, is like an open-air museum.
Topkapi Palace is is the symbol and the center of the Ottoman Empire. Overlooking Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus) and the Marmara sea, stands this amazing building that was the great palace of the Ottoman Sultans. The palace is a collection of buildings arranged around a series of courtyards and has incredible collections of jewels, China, pieces of Ottoman and Islamic artwork.
Built by Mimar Sinan, the great architect, and completed in just seven years between 1550 and 1557, Suleymaniye Mosque is considered to be the most beautiful of all Imperial mosques in Istanbul. It dominates the skyline of the Golden Horn. Adjoining the mosque there are schools of theology, schools of Medicine, and a caravanserai. It is a symbol of power and glory dedicated to legendary Sultan Suleyman (Suleyman the Magnificent) who is buried there, not very far from his famous and beloved wife Hurrem Sultan (Roxelena)
Day 4 Turkish night show on Bosphorus
Following a free day, this tour includes shows and entertainment on a Bosphorus cruise boat. Show starts at 20.00 hours with a welcome cocktail on board then continues with DJ music, live Turkish "fasil" performing the best Turkish traditional songs, a belly dancer, an Anatolian folk dance group and Turkish Roman dance. Dinner includes Mezes (Turkish Hors d'oeuvre), salad, warm starters, grilled fish or chicken as main, dessert and Turkish cafe.
It is a great way of enjoying Istanbul at night while cruising on Bosphorus and learning about the local culture and food. In the mean time you will pass through Rumeli Hisari, Beylerbeyi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque, Kiz Kulesi (Maiden's Tower), Tarabya, Yenikoy, lovely water front mansions and the Ottoman hunting villas of Kucuksu and Hidiv (Kucuksu and Hidiv Kasris). The boat will cruise along the Bosphorus till midnight.
Day 5 Free day
A free day followed by a transfer to the airport.
All transfers and ground transportation, guiding, 4 nights hotel accommodation, 2 full day tours including lunches, fees and guidance, night show on Bosphorus by boat with dinner, show and unlimited drinks, all service charges and local taxes.
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