Today, we arrive in Istanbul, where a transfer guide will meet us at the airport. We transfer to our hotel downtown, and have a brief orientation late in the afternoon.This evening, we can discover any of the Turkish restaurants in the area as we enjoy dinner on our own.
Day 2 (Istanbul) B
This morning, we'll discover some of Istanbul's most famous sites on foot, including Topkapi Palace
Mehmet the Conqueror started building this complex in about 1459 and it served as the royal palace of the Ottoman sultans until 1853. Today, it is one of the world's richest museums, with a staggering collection of jewels, arms, porcelain, sculpture, manuscripts, and more. Next, we stop at the classicBlue Mosque,
so-called for the shimmering blue tiles that line its interior. Flanked by symmetrical soaring minarets, it is one of the defining elements of the Istanbul skyline. This icon of Ottoman architectural design was constructed under the patronage of Sultan Ahmet I, from 1609-1616.
, was the center of sporting (chariots races, athletics) events and political activities of the old city.Today lunch is on your own.After the lunch, just a short walk across the square takes us to the Underground Cistern
, the largest of the many underground cisterns built during the Byzantine Empire to supply the city with water. This cistern is especially fascinating because the Byzantine builders recycled many stone structures, capital heads and columns, that had been used in earlier temples. Now an upside down Medusa stares out at us from her watery home.This afternoon, we take to the water for ourBosporus cruise
You can look north to the “European” district of Galata, or east to the Asiatic side of the Bosporus and the Maiden’s Tower. In ancient times, the Golden Horn could be closed off to warships with a giant chain stretching from here to Seraglio Point. The tour will end with the visit to the Grand Bazaar
, the vast and legendary covered market that is the biggest souk (market place) in the world with nearly 4000 shops selling antiques, jewelry, clothes, spices, carpets and much more. Drive back to hotel.Dinner is on your own.
Day 3 B
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight.