EXPERIENCE - ISTANBUL BETWEEN HISTORY AND TRADITION
In a nutshell Let us visit some of the most important places in Istanbul, gems that often remain hidden to passing tourists but encapsulate the local history and traditions.
Good to know
- Süleymaniye Mosque
- Chora Museum
- Pierre Loti Café
- Spice bazaar
- The excursion takes place in small groups to explore some of the gems that passing visitors usually do not have enough time to see.
- First of all, we have the famous Süleymaniye Mosque, an Ottoman Imperial Mosque and therefore an important symbol in the history of Turkey.
- A building of historic, artistic and political relevance, the Mosque is a huge complex located on the sixth hill in Istanbul that plunges into the Golden Horn.
- At the time of its construction, which dates back to the mid-16th century, it boasted the highest dome above the sea level, although it is lower than the Hagia Sophia starting from the base.
- Over the centuries, it has been damaged several times by fires and an earthquake and, after various conservation works and two extensive restoration campaigns - one of which took place in recent years - the Mosque was finally reopened to the public in 2010 despite some work still going on in the courtyard.
- The interior of the Mosque is characterised by exceptional acoustics and simple yet elegant decorations enriched with majolica tiles and stained glass windows that contribute to conveying a sensation of lightness and openness.
- The Mosque cemetery is home to the grave of Suleiman the Magnificent.
- After visiting the Mosque, we continue with the Chora Museum located next to the city’s ancient walls.
- The building, considered one of the main examples of Byzantine architecture still in existence, boasts a long and complex history and was restored and rebuilt many times.
- Originally an Orthodox church, it was converted into a mosque in the early 16th century by the Ottomans and became a national museum midway through the past century.
- The mosaics and frescoes that cover the ceiling and walls date back to the early 14th century and illustrate the life of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ - an excellent example of Byzantine Renaissance.
- Before returning to the port, we enjoy a relaxing tea break at the Pierre Loti Café - a popular place offering spectacular views over the Golden Horn.
- The bar, which is famous precisely due to its panoramic location, was named after a French writer and sailor that usually stopped off here and fell in love with the city so much that it provided the inspiration for his first book: Aziyade.
- After a relaxing break, spend admiring enchanting views, the coach takes us to the last stop on our excursion, the Spice Market where we are surrounded by a myriad of colours and aromas and remain enchanted by the local customs and traditions.
Good to know
- This excursion is carried out in small groups and requires a minimum number of participants to operate.
- The excursion duration may vary depending on traffic conditions.
- You must remove your shoes when visiting the Süleymaniye Mosque.
- Dress code that is appropriate for the places of worship to be visited is recommended.
- Should the Süleymaniye Mosque be closed, we will visit another historic Mosque.
- The excursion involves walks on uneven ground.
- The tour depends on the sights being open to the public during religious holidays such as the month of Ramadan.
- The Grand Bazaar and Spice Markets are closed on national holidays and during religious festivities.
- The Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque and New Mosque are closed Friday mornings until 2.30 pm.