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Old City Relics – Half Day Afternoon Tour

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You will be picked up from your hotel ( Sultanahmet Area ) at around 13:30 for your half day guided tour of the old city’s primary attractions.

Basilica Cistern: Built by Justinian after 532, the Basilica Cistern stored water for the Great Palace and nearbybuildings. Lost to memory, it was rediscovered in the mid sixteenth century by Petrus Gyllius, who had been sent to Constantinople by the French King Francis I in search of Byzantine monuments and manuscripts. Gyllius, who noticed that the local people were lowering buckets through holes in the floors of their houses to retrieve water, found an entrance and thus put this mysterious subterranean architectural surprise back on the map. You will marvel at the almost 10,000 square meters of space supported by 336 marble columns each nine meters in height.

Sultanahmet Mosque/Blue Mosque: This mosque was built by Sultan Ahmet I between 1609 and 1616 and is 1_istanbul_sultanahmet-camii-located in the district of old istanbul that is named after this Ottoman Sultan. It is distinguished by its six slender minarets. The central dome is 43 m in height and 33.4 m in diameter and there are 260 stained glass windows throughout the mosque. Due to the intricately decorated blue, green and red tiles of its interior it has long been referred to as the Blue Mosque. These tiles, produced and painted by hand in Iznik (ancient Nicaea), are an attraction in and of themselves. The Quranic inscriptions that you will see throughout the mosque were made by Seyyid Kasım Gubari, one of the most famous calligraphers of his time.

Roman Hippodrome and MonumentsThe ancient Hippodrome was the center of Byzantine social life and the scene of fiercely competitive chariot races. It was located in the square that is now in front of the Blue Mosque and is still the site of ancient relics from its glory days. These are the Obelisk of Theodosius, the bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine. Remains of the curved end of the Hippodrome wall can be seen on the southwest side of the three monuments.

Hagia Sophia Museum: The Hagia Sophia that you can visit today was the primary church of Byzantine Constantinople and was built upon the site of two earlier churches that had been destroyed. Emperor Justinian I1_hagia-sophia-Istanbul-hagia-sophia-istanbul-turkey- (3) (527-565) commissioned the project and had materials brought in from all around his empire for the massive church’s construction. The Hagia Sophia was the most important church of the Christian East. Structurally, it was the first of its design and boasted the largest dome that had yet been engineered which provided a voluminous and well illuminated interior. After Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and was used as such throughout the Ottoman period. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the modern Turkish Republic’s most revered founding father and its first Prime Minister, initiated the process to have the Hagia Sophia transformed into a museum which opened for visitors in February 1935.

After the tour, you will be returned to your hotel or you may choose to part from your guide at Sultanahmet Square.

Please make note of the following:

  • There is a 30% discount for children under the age of 7 and children aged 2 and younger are free
  • Please note that the order in which sights are visited may vary
  • There are no shopping stops made during our tour but if our guests would like to do some shopping following the conclusion of the tour we can be of assistance
  • It is advised to wear conservative clothing when visiting mosques and churches
  • You are kindly requested to present yourself at the pick up point 15 minutes prior to the preadvised pick up time
  • Smoking is not permitted in transportation vehicles nor in museums
  • Please note that the sights visited in this tour are also available as two separate half day tours

Includes:

  • Sultanahmet area pick up
  • Fully guided tour with the services of an experienced and licensed English speaking guide
  • Luxury non smoking air conditioned transportation
  • On ground support and access to True Blue Tour Istanbul office should you require any assistance
  • All entrance fees
  • Option to have True Blue Tour book your hotel
  • V.A.T.

Excludes:

  • International flights to and from Istanbul
  • Travel insurance (travel insurance is included for full itinerary tours but not for separate daily tours)
  • Note that items marked as ‘’optional’ are suggestions not yet included in the price of the tour
  • Any expenses not noted in the above list of inclusions
  • Personal expenses such as hotel extras, etc.
Reservation
Tour Details

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Departure & Return Location

John F.K. International Airport (Google Map)

Departure Time

3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Air fares
  • 3 Nights Hotel Accomodation
  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • All transportation in destination location

Price Excludes

  • Guide Service Fee
  • Driver Service Fee
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Room Service Fees

Complementaries

  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • T-Shirt
  • Entrance Fees
What to Expect

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Zürich, Switzerland

We’ll meet at 4 p.m. at our hotel in Luzern (Lucerne) for a “Welcome to Switzerland” meeting. Then we’ll take a meandering evening walk through Switzerland’s most charming lakeside town, and get acquainted with one another over dinner together. Sleep in Luzern (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2Zürich–Biel/Bienne–Neuchâtel–Geneva

Enjoy an orientation walk of Zurich’s OLD TOWN, Switzerland’s center of banking and commerce. Then, leave Zurich and start your Swiss adventure. You’ll quickly discover that Switzerland isn’t just home to the Alps, but also to some of the most beautiful lakes. First, stop at the foot of the Jura Mountains in the picturesque town of Biel, known as Bienne by French-speaking Swiss, famous for watch-making, and explore the historical center. Next, enjoy a scenic drive to lakeside Neuchâtel, dominated by the medieval cathedral and castle. Time to stroll along the lake promenade before continuing to stunning Geneva, the second-largest city in Switzerland, with its fantastic lakeside location and breathtaking panoramas of the Alps.

Day 3Enchanting Engelberg

Our morning drive takes us from Swiss lakes to Swiss Army. At the once-secret Swiss army bunker at Fortress Fürigen, we’ll see part of the massive defense system designed to keep Switzerland strong and neutral. Afterward, a short drive into the countryside brings us to the charming Alpine village of Engelberg, our picturesque home for the next two days. We’ll settle into our lodge then head out for an orientation walk. Our stroll through the village will end at the Engelberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery with its own cheese-making operation. You’ll have free time to wander back before dinner together. Sleep in Engelberg (2 nights). Bus: 1 hr. Walking: light.

Day 4Interlaken Area. Excursion to The Jungfrau Massif

An unforgettable trip to the high Alpine wonderland of ice and snow is the true highlight of a visit to Switzerland. Globus Local Favorite At an amazing 11,332 feet, the JUNGFRAUJOCH is Europe’s highest railway station. Jungfrau’s 13,642-foot summit was first ascended in 1811 and in 1912 the rack railway was opened. There are lots of things to do here: enjoy the ALPINE SENSATION, THE PANORAMA 360° EXPERIENCE, and the ICE PALACE. Also receive your JUNGFRAU PASSPORT as a souvenir to take home with you. The round trip to the “Top of Europe” by MOUNTAIN TRAIN will take most of the day.

Day 5Lake Geneva and Château de Chillon

It’s market day in Lausanne! Enjoy browsing and packing a picnic lunch for our 11 a.m. boat cruise on Lake Geneva. A few miles down-shore we’ll dock at Château de Chillon, where we’ll have a guided tour of this delightfully medieval castle on the water. On our way back we’ll take time to peek into the vineyards surrounding Lutry before returning to Lausanne. Boat: 2 hrs. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.

Map
Photos