BYZANTINE AND OTTOMAN ISTANBUL Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar




We’ll discover the historical center where the city’s most famous monuments and the ruins of several great civilizations are located. We’ll begin at the Hippodrome of Constantinople containing two impressive obelisks and the Serpent Column. We’ll then tour Topkapi Palace, the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years, see its Imperial Treasury and visit the Harem. It contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasures and jewelry. The 7,535,000 sq. ft. palace complex has hundreds of rooms and chambers, but only the most important are accessible to the public today.

We’ll then visit the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque. After the unfavorable result of the war with Persia, Sultan Ahmet I decided to build an enormous mosque in Istanbul to reassert Ottoman power. The mosque has one main dome, six minarets, and eight secondary domes.
We’ll then head to the Hagia Sophia. Constructed in 537, it served as a Greek Orthodox church, then an imperial mosque under the Ottoman Turks, and was converted to a museum by Atatürk in 1934.
We then head to the Spice Market and its 85 shops selling spices, jewelry, souvenirs, dried fruits-nuts and candies. Spend some free time strolling through the labyrinth of small streets connecting to larger courts and the caravanserais that have been transformed into markets where you can browse among the peddlers’ good on carts.
Return to the ship.


  Duration : ~ 10:00

  • Wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.
  • Shorts and low-cut shirts are prohibited. Please have your shoulders and knees covered.
  • If there is not a minimum of 25 participants, the excursion will be cancelled or offered at a higher rate according to the number of participants (payment on board).
  • The order of the visits can change.
  • Times are approximate.
  • Alcohol can be dangerous to your health. Please drink in moderation.