Ottoman Istanbul: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar
- Topkapi Palace: A palace built for Mehmet the Conqueror, explore courtyard gardens, jewel-stocked treasuries, and one-of-a-kind Chinese porcelain at the oldest and largest palace on earth.
- Hagia Sophia: 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
Y2K kids have got it made...sitting behind laptops and TV screens, the only battles they see are the virtual ones. But back in Roman times, boys became men at a much more accelerated pace just ask Sultan Mehmet II, the 21 year-old Ottoman sultan that proved his enemies wrong, capturing Constantinople for Ottoman reign.
When Sultan Mehmet II succeeded his father in 1451, it was widely believed that the 19 year-old ruler would make like a lazy teenager, and pose no real threat to his Byzantine neighbors in Constantinople. Mehmet even assured his frenemies that he wouldn't be pulling any funny business, sending envoys from his court to deliver his most pacific intentions.
But Mehmet's actions spoke far louder than his words once he built the Rumeli fortress just a few miles north of Constantinople, the most advantageously located city for ruling empires of the day. By 1453 Mehmet stormed Constantinople, crumbling its walls, killing its men, and taking the city for his most supreme Ottoman rule.
The Byzantines had bestowed their architecture upon the sprawling city, and Mehmet knew better than to burn it all down. Instead he set to work spreading his Ottoman flair andndash; adding minarets to the domed Hagia Sophia, building a palace filled with Turkish jewels and alluring concubines, and renaming the city to Istanbul. If you think it's time Y2K kids get it together, a journey through Istanbul just might accomplish that goal.
A most benevolent ruler
Mehmet the Conqueror ruthlessly took Constantinople, but once it was his he wanted peace. He declared he would restore any damaged or looted houses, vowed to treat Constantinople's inhabitants by their rank and religion, and redecorated their venerated Hagia Sophia instead of burning it down. It was a smart way to rule Mehmet was beloved by his people.
Please proceed outside of the Cruise Terminal to the coach parking lot and look for our tour representative 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. Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays. Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays and during religious festivals on the following dates of September 24 - 27, 2015, July 05 - 07, 2016, and September 12 - 15, 2016. 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 strenuous. Travelers must consider their physical fitness level and medical history when determining whether this tour is appropriate. Travelers with pre-existing neck, back, knee and/or shoulder injuries, cardiac conditions, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, other heart or respiratory conditions or any other medical condition must take particular caution when selecting a tour categorized as "strenuous". If you have concerns, you must consult with your personal physician before engaging in any activity that may be too strenuous for you.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
This tour is not recommended for travelers with walking difficulties or who cannot manage steps. There is no maximum age restriction, but we ask travelers to be aware of their physical fitness, limitations and understand this activity is rated strenuous.
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.
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