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Turkey is a transcontinental country located in Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia bordering the Black Sea. Neighboring countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Turkey has a strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits that link the Black and Aegean Seas. The geography of Turkey consists of narrow coastal plains in the west that become increasingly rugged as they progress eastward. The government system is a republican parliamentary democracy; the chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Turkey has a mixed economy in which there is a growing private sector combined with centralized economic planning and government regulation.
Upon your arrival we will pick you up from the airport and transfer to Hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
Your day tour of the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul, at Hagia Sophia. Built by the Emperor Justinian in the early 6th century A.D. and designed by Anthemius of Tralles and Isodore of Miletus, the church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Converted into a mosque in 1453, it is now a museum. Its massive dome still dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is also famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses and a poignant Virgin and Child. Visit the Blue Mosque which takes its name from the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Built by Sultan Ahmet I in the early 17th century and designed by a pupil of Sinan, the greatest of Ottoman architects, it is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. Its courtyard is especially grand. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi survive. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons, and leather goods. Wandering through the Grand Bazaar, indulge in some shopping, Ottoman style. Enjoy your lunch at a rooftop restaurant with Bosphorus views.
The air in the Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and every other conceivable herb and spice. After the Spice Bazaar, take a short Golden Horn tour and go to Kabatas for the Bosporus tour on a private boat. Not only does the Bosporus connect the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, it also separates the continents of Asia and Europe from one another. As a natural and extremely secure harbor, the Golden Horn has played an important role in the development of Istanbul. The inlet separates the European shore into two. It is approximately 8 kilometers long and the widest part is the entrance from the Bosphorus. Two streams drain into this inlet at its far end. During your amazing cruise between the two continents, cruise along the Bosphorus by the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces, wooden villas and mansions up to the Rumeli Fortress. The first breach of the walls was by the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the second by the cannons and troops of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453. See the Rumeli Fortress from the sea (no interior visit). Istanbul had been besieged many times before Mehmet the Conqueror took the city in 1453, but it managed to defend itself with the help of the Roman city walls. From the deck of the cruise boat, take in the sights and sounds of this legendary waterway, lined with historic villages, grandiose waterfront mansions, imposing fortresses, like Anadolu Hisari and the Baroque palaces of the late Ottoman sultans.
Picked up at your hotel and head out on a drive along the Golden Horn, an arm of the Bosphorus and a natural harbor for the historical peninsula separating the old and new parts of Istanbul. Enjoy the Bosphorus District and Golden Horn, which are among the most charming parts of Istanbul. Admire the views of this historic city by taking a cable car to the top of Pierre Loti Hill and a cruise on the Bosphorus. Explore this residential area for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders, and other non-Muslim minorities during the Byzantine Empire. See traces of history at Balat and see the Metal Church of St. Stephen, the Bulgarian Jewish Hospital (Or-Ahayim), Fener Orthodox Patriarchate, and the 22-kilometer-long walls of the old city of Constantinopolis.
Built by Constantine the Great and expanded by Emperor Theodosios in the 4th century A.D. these stone walls protected the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for 900 years and were the strongest fortification of the Middle Ages. Eyup Square is the spiritual center of Istanbul for the Muslim Turks, and is the perfect destination for those who would like to enjoy stunning panoramic view from its heights. Take the cable car up to the coffee house on Pierre Loti Hill, and enjoy some free time to take in the view of the Golden Horn estuary below. It’s just a short drive to the Eminonu Pier, where you’ll board a ferry for a 90-minute breathtaking cruise along the Bosphorus strait, separating the Asian and European continents, and running through the city of Istanbul.
Your expert guide will provide commentary about several Ottoman palaces, ancient fortresses, the continental suspension bridges, and upscale shore villages with typical Ottoman architecture that you see along the way. During the tour you’ll also see the Imperial Gardens of Royal Yildiz Palace, the Bosphorus Bridge connecting the Asian and European continents, and the Beylerbeyi Palace from the ferry. If time permits you’ll be taken to a leather fashion outlet center. After the tour you’ll be transferred back to your hotel.
warm farewell, pick up at the hotel, transfer to the airport and departure.