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-a-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 Topkapı Palace and its mysterious harem, the gloriously Iznik-tiled Blue Mosque, and the gorgeous mosaics and frescoes of the Church of Saviour in Chora are just some of the highlights – plus, we have secured very special out-of-hours access to one of the world’s most astounding buildings, the Hagia Sophia (Church of the Holy Wisdom).
Deposit: £500 Single supplement: £525
Day 1 - London - Istanbul
Today we fly from London to Istanbul, where we check in to our hotel and can enjoy a little free time before our first group dinner.
|Hotel||Yasmak Sultan Hotel, Istanbul|
Day 2 - Istanbul
This morning, we pay a visit first to the Blue Mosque, then to the Hippodrome and the little-visited Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus, which is 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.
Day 3 - Istanbul
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.
Day 4 - Istanbul
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, our Guide Lecturer can take us 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||Yasmak Sultan Hotel, Istanbul|
|Meals included||Breakfast, Dinner|
Day 5 - Istanbul
We have the entire morning to visit the extensive Archaeological Museum. Afterwards, we then enjoy a boat ride 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 we might even catch a glimpse of shearwaters or dolphins.
Day 6 - Istanbul
In the morning we head out to the Church of Saviour in Chora and admire its lovely mosaics, a visit which is 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, we can enjoy panoramic views from the Genoese Galata Tower.
Day 7 - Istanbul - London
Our morning is spent at leisure, but there is the opportunity to view a selection of superb quality Turkish carpets and kilims in a restored Byzantine-era cistern before stopping for lunch. After, we catch our return flight back home to London.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Lunch|
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Professional Tour Manager
- Local travel aboard a private air-conditioned coach
- Meals as per the itinerary, tea or coffee with dinner
- Entries to all sites as per the itinerary
- All taxes & gratuities
- Field notes
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single Supp.||Availability|
|16 November 2020||ABYZ201116||16 November 2020 (Monday)||22 November 2020 (Sunday)||Terry Richardson Skylar Morgan||£2,695