Istanbul Highlights: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Grand Bazaar
- Blue Mosque: Istanbul's most photogenic building was built by Sultan Ahmet I and features blue domed ceilings, floor-to-ceiling Iznic tile mosaics, and six towering minarets.
- Hagia Sophia Museum: Constructed by the Byzantines in 532 A.D., the stunning domed church was converted to an imperial mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453.
- Grand Bazaar: Along a winding maze of streets are rows of colorful stands peddling exotic textiles, fragrant teas, and iron-cast lanterns.
About this Istanbul tour
Sultan Ahmet I was a little insecure about the size and beauty of the Hagia Sophia he couldn't have the city's loveliest monument be one that was built by his ancient competitors. So in the early 1600s he built his namesake mosque to out-wow the neighboring Sophia, and his Blue Mosque made quite the formidable rival.
Stacked with the biggest courtyard of any Ottoman mosque in the world, a wonderfully curvaceous exterior with cascading domed ceilings gave the Blue Mosque some va-va-voom voluptuousness. Blue Iznik tiles top off her alluring features, tens of thousands of intricate tiles adorn her walls, while over 260 windows lend plenty of light.
Like any jealous Sultan, Ahmet wished he could construct an invisible fortress around his prized possession. Maybe that's why he built six towering minarets more than any other mosque at the time to show everyone in town that his Blue Mosque was spoken for. Judging by their shape and size tall, pointy, and wide - Ahmet probably had something to prove to his rivals.
Today the Blue Mosque is just as exclusive with suitors trying to get inside: non-Muslims can only visit between the five daily prayer hours, and they've got to abide by the Mosque's high fashion standards no shoes for anyone, and ladies have to wear a head scarf. After all, Ahmet's beautiful blue lady was a decent one above all.
Short but sweet
Ahmet's love affair with the Blue Mosque was sadly short-lived. He died of typhus at the ripe old age of 28, just about 13 years after he assumed the throne. His legacy would be his namesake mosque, though he wouldn't get much time to enjoy her opulence.
Please proceed outside of the Cruise Terminal to the coach parking lot and look for your expert guide with the displayed logo sign. Call the operator once you are at the designated meeting point.
Please dress conservatively. No exposed shoulders or knees in mosques. The Grand Bazaar, one of the most colorful sites of Istanbul, is where you'll have the chance to experience Turkish weaving arts and a carpet presentation. Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays and during religious festivals. Blue Mosque is closed until 3 pm on Fridays. St. Sophia is closed on Mondays between September - June.
Due to the nature of this tour, it is not recommend for travelers using walkers or wheelchairs. Participants must be able to walk approximately 2 miles over uneven, cobblestone, and paved surfaces with some inclines and steps.
Cultural, Scenic, Shopping, Walking Tour
English, German, Spanish, French, Italian
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
This tour is not recommended for travelers with walking difficulties or who cannot manage steps.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
100 countries, 915 cities… limitless possibilities
All our tours are offered by expert local guides & operators
Head off the beaten path with our unique tours & activities
You can rely on our team of travel industry experts
Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.
Have you been on this experience?
Write a Review
Fields marked are required.
Please enter your review.