Sightseeing in Istanbul
An unforgettable Bosphorus tour or an outstanding promenade in the Old City? Istanbul’s natural and historical richness offers to its visitors a wide choice of sightseeing opportunity.
Istanbul Historical Tours
A half-day morning tour in the Sultanahmet Square, the heart of the Old City. Hagia Sophia; one of the greatest marvels of architecture, constructed as a basilica in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian. Blue Mosque; facing Hagia Sophia, famous with its blue İznik tiles and unique with its 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet I. Hippodrome; center of sportive (chariot races, athletics) events and political activities of the Old City. Serpentine Column, Obelisk of Theodosius, and German Fountain of Wilhelm II are monuments decorating the Hippodrome. Grand Bazaar; the most attractive shopping center and the biggest souk (market) in the world, with nearly 4000 shops selling antiques, jewelry, gold, carpets, leather goods and souvenir.
This is a half-day afternoon tour of the Topkapı Palace and Süleymaniye Mosque. Topkapı Palace was the imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans. There, you will see sacred Islamic relics, old kitchen utensils, collections of Chinese porcelain, weapons, calligraphy section etc. Treasury and Harem sections are not included in the program, but you can visit those sections by paying an extra entrance fee. Süleymaniye Mosque is the most renowned imperial mosque. It is the masterpiece of Mimar Sinan, who was the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire. The mosque was built during the 16th century in the name of Süleyman the Magnificent.
Byzantine & Ottoman relics
This is a full-day tour including Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpentine Column, German Fountain of Wilhelm II, Grand Bazaar (there will be an art demonstration of handmade Turkish carpets), Topkapı Palace, Süleymaniye Mosque, Galata Bridge and Golden Horn. This tour ends approximately at 17:00 hrs. Since Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays, it is replaced with Kariye (St. Savior in Chora) Museum. Topkapı Palace is closed on Tuesdays and Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
Jewish Heritage “The Quincentennial of Sepharads”
There are full-day and half-day tour options. You can attend the full-day private tour except Saturday and Sunday. The tour encompasses the centuries-old Jewish neighborhood, Galata. You have a chance to visit the Neve Shalom and Ashkenaz synagogues. While driving to Balat along the Goldern Horn, you will be able to see the Star of David’s appearance on the facades of some buildings. Also, you will visit Ahrida Synagogue, which was built in the 15th century; and the special “Exhibition of the Quincentennial Foundation” about the Jews in Turkey, upon private rendezvous. And you will see the Jewish Cemetery, where the martyrs of Neve Shalom are buried. The last stop is at Ortaköy, which was first the disembarking point of the Sepharads, welcomed by the Ottoman Sultan. In a half-day morning tour option, you can see the Neve Shalom and Ashkenaz Synagogues, Galata and Balat (The Old Jewish Settlement), Private Exhibition of the Quincentennial Foundation and Ortaköy.
In Trace of Christianity
The Ecumenical Patriarchate at Fener, by the Goldern Horn, is the heart of Orthodox Christianity. After Constantine the Great’s declaration of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire, the capital was moved from Rome to Byzantium. After the conquest of the Ottoman Empire, the seat of Patriarchate remained in Istanbul. Church of Panagia of Blachernae; the best known and the most celebrated shrine of the Holy Virgin, is located near the Golden Horn. The church is famous for the hagisma (fountain of holy water), good to cure health problems; and the Hagion Lousma (sacred bath), good to clean the soul, where the emperor also came to purify himself. St. Savior In Chora (Kariye); it is originally a Byzantine monastery, dedicated to Jesus Christ the Savior, decorated with fantastic mosaics and frescoes, portraying scenes from the Bible, the life and miracles of Jesus. The monastic complex of Christ Pantocrator (Zeyrek); one of the largest of the Byzantine period, comprising two churches and a funerary chapel, baths, a hospice for the aged, a hospital and a medical school, a hostel for travelers and a library.
Zoodochos Pege At Balıklı; dedicated to the Mother of God at Pege, with an underground cistern, full of gold fish related to a well-known miracle, and the fountain of holy water, believed to cure many diseases, is one of most celebrated shrines. St. Serguis & Bacchus; it is a landmark in Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture. Today it is known as the “Little Hagia Sophia”, because its general plan is a precursor of the Hagia Sophia. Hagia Eirene; the old patriarchal church with its impressive size stands next to Hagia Sophia.
Dolmabahçe Palace & Two Continents
This is a half-day afternoon tour including Dolmabahçe Palace, Bosphorus Bridge and Çamlıca Hill. Dolmabahçe Palace is the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans and Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It is famous for its collection of European antiques, furniture and 4.5 tons chandelier. Çamlıca Hill is the best point for a panoramic view of İstanbul and the Bosphorus.
Bosphorus Cruise on private boat
This is a half-day tour, morning or afternoon, running all year round including Spice Bazaar and Bosphorus. Cruising along the Bosphorus you will be able to see and take photographs of the Imperial Gardens of Royal Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Fortress, Dolmabahçe Palace, Bosphorus Bridge, Beylerbeyi Palace. Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) mystical smells of exotic aromas of various spices. There are also many shops selling fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish etc.
This is a full-day cruise in the Marmara Sea to Princes’ Islands. It operates all year round. During the tour you have a chance to see Topkapı Palace, Leander’s Tower and Üsküdar from the sea. The boat will stop at Büyükada, which is the popular summer resort with sandy beaches and pinewood scenery, once the pleasure island of Byzantine Princes. You will tour the island in horse-drawn carriages and have lunch at a fish restaurant.
Sunset Cruise in Bosphorus
A chance to view and photograph the precious relics of the three world dominating empires, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman while you enjoy this fascinating atmosphere and your welcome drink.
An enchanted night cruise starts as the sun sets on İstanbul. Beneath the Bosphorus Bridge by moonlight, glide past the Çırağan Palace, nowadays Hotel Kempinski, Dolmabahçe Palace and Rumeli Fortress on European shores. The Beylerbeyi Palace, Kanlıca, Anatolian Fortress on Asian shores. The twinkling lights of the European and Asian shores will delight you.