Our first stop will be the Dolmabahce Palace. Streching expansively along the European shore of the Bosphours, this ornate Baroque masterpiece, built in 1854 was the home of the late Ottoman Sultans. No expense was spared in decorating its interior, which boasts no less than fourteen tons of gold. The palace houses rich collections of Bohemian crystal and 19th and 20th century Turkish painting and sculpture. Rustem Pasha is not the largest or the best known mosque in Istanbul, but this often over looked treasure is certainly the most exquisitely decoreted. Every inch of the interior is covered with briliantly colored Iznik tiles. Close by is the 17th century Spice Bazaar, where you can find a vast diversity of spices, sacks of henna, many varieties of oil sand herbs, and of course the world’s very best Turkish Delight. We next visit Hagia Sofia which was built by the Emperor Justinianan dinaugurated in 537 AD. Forover nine centuries it was the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it remains the world’s 4th largest church. Hagia Sofia contains some of the finest mosaics to have survived from the Byzantine period, including a truly remarkable mosaics of the Virgin and Child. We finish our day with visit to the Archaeological Museum, built at theend of the 19th century by Osman Hamdi, Turkey’s first modern archaeologist and the discoverer of the Alexander Sarcophagus, one of the highlights of themuseum, as well as a notedpainter in his ownright. The variety and quality of the objects on display make this among the most outstanding institutions of its kind, with fine Greek and Roman sculpture, Mesopotamian jewelry and an important collection of Hittite artifacts.
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– Air conditioned luxury minivan with driver on tours
– Professional guiding on tours
– Lunches on tours
– All admission fees to the museums and sights
– International flight tickets
– Drinks during the lunches
– Not mandatory but customary tips