After disembarkation in the morning, you will be met at the port by your private guide and driver.
Drive to the Sultanahmet neighborhood. Visit the Roman Hippodrome, which was the scene of chariot races and the great public occasions throughout the immensely long history of Byzantine Empire.
You will next step into the extraordinary Hagia Sophia Church. Built in the 6th Century by the Emperor Justinian, this church stands as a testament to the sophistication of the former Byzantine capital and influenced architecture in the medieval world for centuries. Its original design was supposedly created as a mirror image of the heavens. Converted into a mosque by the Ottomans in the 15th Century under the Sultan Mehmet II, this vast edifice now includes minarets and Turkish Rococo fountains.
You will continue your exploration of Istanbul with a visit to the Blue Mosque, one of the most important temples of worship in the world. It is named for the blue Iznik tile work that decorates its interior and its dome can be seen from all over the Sultanahmet district.
You will be given the opportunity to experience the best examples of the Ottoman cuisine, during lunch.
Lunch will be followed by a visit to the extraordinary Imperial residence of 25 Ottoman Sultans – the Topkapi Palace, lavish home to the Ottoman Sultans. For centuries this was the place from which the Sultans ruled over an empire that stretched from Eastern Europe to Atlantic Ocean. It contains a priceless collection of jewelry, porcelain and costumes. Legend claims that the ancient rod on display in the Treasury, is the one used by Moses to part the Red Sea. Other artifacts of similar fame include John the Baptist’s gilded arm and Mohammad’s beard,fingernails and foot imprint.
Lastly, visit the Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar’s first phase of construction began in 1455 under Mehmet theConqueror, but it was added to many times over the centuries. The end result is an enormous labyrinth of covered streets lined with thousands of shops selling, for example, hand-woven carpets and kilims, gold and silver jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, leather goods, fine antiques and illuminated manuscripts
Afterwards, you will be transferred to back to your awaiting ship.