BOSPHORUS & OTTOMAN SPLENDOURS TOUR
Combining BOSHORUS MORNING & OTTOMAN SPLENDOURS TOUR.
Full Day Regular Group Tour
(20-25 people for each group)
BOSPHORUS MORNING TOUR
CITY WALLS The first breach of the walls was by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the second by the cannons and troops of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453.
GOLDEN HORN As a natural and extremely secure harbor, the Golden Horn has played an important role in the development of Istanbul. The inlet separates the European shore into two. It is approximately 8 km long, and the widest part is the entrance from the Bosphorus. Two streams drain into this inlet at its far end.
SPICE BAZAAR (EGYPTIAN BAZAAR) The air here is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice.
BOAT TRIP ON THE BOSPHORUS An amazing cruise between the two continents, EUROPE and ASIA, along the Bosphorus by the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces, wooden villas and mansions up to the Rumeli Fortress.
THE RUMELI FORTRESS(FROM THE SEA) (NO INTERIOR VISIT)
İstanbul had been besieged many times before Mehmet the Conqueror took the city in 1453,but it managed to defend itself with the help of the Roman city walls.
We begin with a brief visit to the 17th century Spice Bazaar*, one of Istanbul’s most colorful, bustling attractions. Next, we travel the Golden Horn on our way to an unforgettable cruise along the Bosphorus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise boat, we view the dramatic sights lining the Bosphorus’ wooded shores: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world’s longest and Rumeli Hisari, a massive fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. Also noteworthy on this tour are the 19th century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultans’ fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges.
We begin at Topkapı Palace, from the 15th to the 19th century, the principal residence of the Ottoman Sultans. We visit the fabulous Imperial Treasury and the Baghdad Kiosk. Topkapı Palace is now a museum and has unrivalled collections of jewelry, including the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, the 3rd largest in the world. It also possesses numerous Ottoman court costumes and ceramics, notably including one of the world’s finest collections of Chinese celadon ceramics, many gifts from other rulers. Interestingly, some of the ceramics have a special glaze that was said to change color in the presence of poison. We also visit the Imperial Armory, displaying centuries of Ottoman weaponry. But perhaps the loveliest feature of Topkapı Palace are its courtyards’ ancient trees; it is easy to imagine the sultan strolling here far from the cares of state and empire.
Our next stop, Hagia Eirene, the Church of the Holy Peace, is one of the few churches in Istanbul that was never converted into a mosque, as it was used as an arsenal until the 19th century. Hagia Eirene reputedly stands on the site of a pre- Christian temple and has the distinction of being the first church built in Byzantium as it was converted into the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
From there, we visit Gülhane Park, once a part of the outer gardens of Topkapı Palace, where the Edict of Gülhane, a declaration of rights and liberties that played an essential role in the modernization of the Ottoman Empire. After the proclaimation of the Republic, Gülhane Park was for many years home to the Istanbul Zoo