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 the Holy Saviour in Chora are just some of the highlights.
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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 head out to the glorious Haghia Sophia, one of the most influential buildings of the Byzantine and Ottoman period, 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 enjoy sublime views of the city from the Genoese Galata Tower, and explore the Galata Mevlevi Lodge, a museum once the meeting-place of the ‘Whirling Dervish’ Mevlevi order. The day ends with private visit to the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora and its lovely mosaics.
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, we 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 travel by boat up the continent-dividing Bosphorus Straits 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 dolphin. The day ends with a private visit to the Archaeological Museum, with an informative section on Istanbul Through the Ages plus an array of artefacts from former Ottoman domains in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Day 6 - Istanbul
This morning we visit the lovely Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome and the little-visited Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus, now a mosque. A walk across historic Sultanahmet brings us to lunch by the famed Basilica Cistern, which we visit after our traditional Turkish meal.
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 supplement||Offer||Availability|
|2 November 2021||ABYZ211102||2 November 2021 (Tuesday)||8 November 2021 (Monday)||Terry Richardson||£2,895
|12 October 2022||ABYZ221012||12 October 2022 (Wednesday)||18 October 2022 (Tuesday)||Terry Richardson||£3,095
|1 November 2022||ABYZ221101||1 November 2022 (Tuesday)||7 November 2022 (Monday)||Terry Richardson||£3,095