1. Istanbul: Byzantine and Ottoman Relics Tour with Local Guide
In the heart of the “Old City” you will stumble upon: Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) is a UNESCO-listed museum that contains Ottoman and Byzantine works. From the Golden Age of Byzantine Empire, this once a Christian church is one of the most extraordinary buildings in the history of architecture. Listen to its history and examine the architecture together with a professional guide. Next stop is Topkapi Palace, the largest and oldest palace in the world to survive to our day and also was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years. Then, make a visit to the Blue Mosque with six minarets, which was built at the bequest of Sultan Ahmet I, and is one of the best preserved and most significant examples of Ottoman architecture. Continue to Istanbul Hippodrome where chariot races were held. It was the center of Byzantium’s life for 1000 years and of Ottoman life for another 400 years and has been the scene of countless political dramas. Stop by Caferaga Medresesi, a cultural organization that teaches and promotes traditional Turkish handicrafts. The courtyard is home to the pleasant Caferağa Medresesi Çay Bahçesi tea garden. A small break for lunch in a local restaurant serving typical Turkish dishes will be served. The last stop of your journey is the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. Its numerous shops are bursting with everything you can imagine, from jewelry to silk clothing, and traditional copperware to exotic, Oriental imports and many more hidden gems.