After breakfast, we continue exploring Istanbul, visiting the Egyptian Spice Bazaar which dates back to the 17th Century. It is still the most popular bazaar visited by locals to shop for fresh ingredients to spice up the dishes prepared in the kitchens of Istanbul.
From here, we continue to Eminonu Pier and board a private boat for a Bosphorus Cruise. We travel through the waterway separating Asia and Europe, seeing the old Ottoman wooden mansions, marble palaces, foreign embassy estates and small fishery villages all located along both the Asian and European sides of this famous river.
Tour of Istanbul
After breakfast, we begin our day exploring the fascinating city of Istanbul.
We begin at the remains of the Hippodrome, once decorated with marble statuary and columns. In its heyday, it was the site of chariot races and the focal point of the city’s civic life. The remains of some of its walls are still visible as is an obelisk brought from Egypt in 390 AD by Theodosius I.
Adjacent to the Hippodrome is the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Built during the period of 1609-1617, it is also known as the ‘Blue Mosque’ thanks to the light that shines through over 2,500 stained glass windows and reflects onto the dark blue Iznik tiles within. The next stop will be the breathtaking ‘Hagia Sophia’, one of the largest historical Christian shrines ever built with its rich mosaic murals, colossal columns and exposition of divine serenity. Then it’s time to explore the Topkapi Palace where, in the 15th Century, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror started the first stages of its construction. The famous Topkapi is built around four inter-connecting courtyards. We view the many treasures of the Ottoman sultans, including fine porcelains, gem encrusted objects d’art, traditional armour and imperial costumes, stunning tile work and sacred relics of the Christian and Islamic faiths.