We begin our day with a tour of the Sultan Ahmed square, located at the heart of the “Old City” from where the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires were ruled from. We will walk the Hippodrome square, which was the epicenter of the sportive events and political activities of Constantinople in Roman and Byzantium periods. We will see and talk about the histories of the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II. Then take a short walk to the Blue Mosque, famous with the finest examples of the blue Iznik tiles and with its unique 6 minarets, built in the early 17th century. Next we visit the Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest marvels of the art & architecture history, constructed as the patriarchate cathedral in the 6th century AD by Emperor Justinian. Lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch our next stop will be the Topkapı Palace complex with beautifully decorated gardens and impressive examples of Turkish architecture which used to house the Ottoman Royalty and their unprecedented collections of imperial treasury, Chinese porcelains, weapons, calligraphy, and holy relics. Next we stroll through the narrow alleys of the Grand Covered Bazaar for exploring its maze of 4000 shops for an authentic oriental shopping experience. Final spot of the day is the mosque of Suleiman the Magnificent, built in the 16th century by Sinan the master architect of the Ottoman Empire and since then has been recognized as the finest example of the Ottoman classical mosque architecture.
Important notice: Hagia Sophia closed on Monday and replaced with Chora Museum. Topkapı Palace is closed on Tuesdays and replaced with the Archaeological Museum. The Grand bazaar is closed on Sundays.
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