Byzantium

The Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia
Inside the Blue Mosque
Inside the Blue Mosque
Harem at the Topkapi Palace
Harem at the Topkapi Palace
The gate of Topkapi Palace
The gate of Topkapi Palace
Aerial view over Istanbul
Aerial view over Istanbul
Wide selection of exotic oriental sweets including baklava, toffees and crystallized fruits in the Spice Market, Istanbul
Wide selection of exotic oriental sweets including baklava, toffees and crystallized fruits in the Spice Market, Istanbul
The Rumeli Hisari (fortress) on the narrowest point of Bosphorus, on the European side of Istanbul
The Rumeli Hisari (fortress) on the narrowest point of Bosphorus, on the European side of Istanbul
Ortakoy Istanbul landscape beautiful sunrise with clouds Ortakoy Mosque and Bosphorus Bridge
Ortakoy Istanbul landscape beautiful sunrise with clouds Ortakoy Mosque and Bosphorus Bridge
Obelisk of Theodosius on the site of the ancient Roman Hippodrome, Istanbul, Turkey. The Hippodrome of Constantinople in summer. Today it is the Sultanahmet square in Istanbul
Obelisk of Theodosius on the site of the ancient Roman Hippodrome, Istanbul, Turkey. The Hippodrome of Constantinople in summer. Today it is the Sultanahmet square in Istanbul
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar
Mosaic Ottoman Lamps at the Grand Bazaar
Mosaic Ottoman Lamps at the Grand Bazaar
Traditional carpets
Traditional carpets
Golden Horn Bay
Golden Horn Bay
Galata tower at night
Galata tower at night
Galata Tower and the street in the Old Town of Istanbul
Galata Tower and the street in the Old Town of Istanbul

Superbly situated on the banks of the continent-dividing Bosphorus strait and, like Rome, built on seven hills, the vibrant metropolis of Istanbul has been around for over two and half millennia. Two great empires have made it their capital, the Christian Byzantines and the Muslim Ottoman Turks, and it is their spectacular legacy that makes the city so appealing to those of us with a passion for archaeology and history. The Topkap? Palace and its mysterious harem, the gloriously Iznik-tiled Blue Mosque and the gorgeous mosaics and frescoes of the Church of Saviour in Chora as just some of the highlights – plus we have special out of hours access to one of the world’s truly great buildings - Haghia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom). 

  • Special out-of-hours access to one of the worlds truly great buildings - Hagia Sophia
  • Be one of the first to return to Istanbul, travelling with Terry Richardson who literally wrote the book on this amazing city
  • Enjoy free time to soak up the atmosphere and culture
  • Ply the blue waters of the continent-dividing Bosphorus strait on a private boat
  • Sample the local cuisine, including baklava and köfte

Themes

  • Historic Churches
  • Great Cities

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2020

Day 1

We fly from London to Istanbul where we check-in to our hotel and have free time before dinner.

Hotel: Hotel Yasmak Sultan
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

This morning we visit the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome and the little-visited Church of St Sergius and Bacchus, now also a mosque. A walk across historic Sultanahmet brings us to lunch by the famed Basilica Cistern, which we visit after our traditional Turkish meal. The day ends with a very special private visit to the glorious Hagia Sophia – a real highlight of this tour.

Hotel: Hotel Yasmak Sultan
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

We begin at the Hagia Eirene (Church of the Holy Peace), sister church to the nearby Hagia Sophia, before spending the rest of the morning exploring the nerve-centre of the mighty Ottoman Empire, the Topkapı Palace complex. In the afternoon, explore the wonders of the Süleymaniye Mosque and its ancillary buildings before walking down to a bustling market area radiating out from the Ottoman-era Spice Bazaar.

Hotel: Hotel Yasmak Sultan
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

A free day for those who want to take a Turkish bath, shop in the Grand Bazaar or otherwise explore independently. Alternatively, and depending on the weather, your Guide Lecturer will take you on foot through the back streets of one of the most traditional parts of Istanbul, before ending on the banks of the Golden Horn for a ferry ride down this evocative waterway.

Hotel: Hotel Yasmak Sultan
Meals: Breakfast & dinner included

Day 5

We have a morning to visit the extensive Archaeological Museum. We then take a boat up the continent-dividing Bosphorus Strait with marvellous views back of the skyline of the old city, the hills of Asia, the Dolmabahce Palace and the Ottoman fortress of Rumeli Hisar – and perhaps a sighting of shearwaters and dolphins.

Hotel: Hotel Yasmak Sultan
Meals: All meals included

Day 6

In the morning we head out to the Church of Saviour in Chora and its lovely mosaics, followed by a look at the mighty Walls of Theodosius and nearby Byzantine Palace of the Porphyrogenitus. In the afternoon we cross the Golden Horn and explore the Galata Mevlevi Lodge, a museum once the meeting-place of the ‘Whirling Dervish’ Mevlevi order and, if the queues are not too long, enjoy panoramic views from the Genoese Galata Tower.

Hotel: Hotel Yasmak Sultan
Meals: All meals included

Day 7

This morning is at leisure, but we do have an opportunity to view some superb quality Turkish carpets and kilims in a restored Byzantine-era cistern before lunch and our afternoon flight home.

Meals: Breakfast & lunch included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most meals included
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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2020 Tour Details

Mon 16th Mar - Sun 22nd Mar

Available

£2,595

Full Price £2695 Save £100

inc.

sgl supp: £525

BYZ20B

Led By: Terry Richardson

Mon 23rd Mar - Sun 29th Mar

Available

£2,595

Full Price £2695 Save £100

inc.

sgl supp: £525

BYZ20C

Led By: Terry Richardson

Mon 16th Nov - Sun 22nd Nov

Available

£2,595

Full Price £2695 Save £100

inc.

sgl supp: £525

BYZ20A

Led By: Terry Richardson

Guide Lecturer

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