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YASEEN TRAVEL Private tour design, specialist in North Africa & Middle East                        Email:  info@yaseentravel.com              contact   07521951504

 

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Highlights of Istanbul

(5 days from 499)

 

Features

 

- Return airport transfer

- Stay in four-star boutique hotels with daily breakfast,

- Visit best landmarks of Istanbul.

- Guided tour of the Blue mosque, the topkapi palce and the Haghia Sophia

- Free time at the Grand Bazaar and The spice market

- Unique Ottoman legacy in architecture and cuisine.

- Stay in the heart of Istanbul, near the Blue mosque, & Turkey's best landmark.                                                                  

 

 

Itinerary                                                            

 

Day 1 

Heathrow flight to Istanbul. Reception and transfer to the hotel Blue House or equivalent in Istanbul.

 

Day 2

Today we start the visit by the Sultan Ahmet mosque or as some tourists prefer to call it "the Blue Mosque", Outstanding 16 th century mosque. Just few meters from the blue mosque another impressive monument calling you to step in first, its the amazing Haghia Sophia church converted to a mosque and now a museum. Yo will be lown away by the scale of the building. Its dome was the world's biggest for 900 years. The Roman Hippodrome is just ouside the church. Decorated by obelisques, altars, and water fountains. Its a museum in open air. The 3000 plus shops in the Grand Bazaar are overwhelming with local and imported handicrafts. The colours and the smell are stunning. You will have time to test your haggling skills and hunt for hopefully antique ottoman rugs.

 

Day 3

 

For over 400 years the Topkapi palace was the main resident for the Ottoman Sultans. You will have a guided visit around the major parts of the palace and you will have a free time to admire the  world 4th biggest diamond and the amazing treasure collected by the ottomans for over 600 years. We end the day in the spice market one of the most vibrant markets in Istanbul. Turkish delight, saffron and Caviar are to be found in nearly every shop. In the afternoon you may join the rest of the group for an *optional Bosphorus cruise to sail around the shores of the two continents, Asia and Europe and to see some of the most expensive villas and palaces in the world.

 

Day 4

At leisure

*On your free time you may consider to visit:

- The Basilica water cistern built by the Emperor "Justinian" in 532 AD.

-The archaeological museum or the mosaic museum.

-The Dolma Bahce palace, Taksim square & the modern part of Istanbul.

 

Day 5

At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the airport for your return scheduled flight.

 

 

 

 

Yaseen Travel design shares some of Lonely planets Recommendations

 

we’ve all heard the descriptions of İstanbul being a bridge between Europe and Asia, a place where East meets West and where cultures have happily coexisted for centuries. But not everyone is aware of its endlessly fascinating contradictions. Here are the top 10 ways to see how the different cultures of Istanbul unify.

 

1. Marvel at one of the world’s truly great buildings: Aya Sofya

 

İstanbul has many architectural masterpieces, but one building surpasses the rest due to its innovative form, historical importance and sheer beauty. The somewhat squat exterior doesn’t promise much, but wait till you see the mesmerising interior. Words can’t do it justice; this space truly makes the soul soar and the senses sharpen.  It is simply sublime. Close your eyes and imagine Byzantines celebrating the liturgy, Crusaders storming the main door, Muslims bowing their heads to Allah and the staunchly secular Atatürk striding in to declare it a museum in 1935.

 

2. See the world’s most stupendous skyline

 

Most great cities have a signature skyline view that graces a million postcards – İstanbul has enough of them to fill an entire album. The seven hills of the Old City are crowned with a collection of imperial mosques that offer a visual wham-bam unlike any other. With their delicate minarets, distinctive domes and curvaceous outer casings, they dominate the peninsula’s skyline and provide romantic backdrops for diners at terrace restaurants around Eminönü and Beyoğlu.

 

3. Lose yourself in the bazaar district

 

The bazaar district is chaotic and colourful. While glam Kanyon may be ground zero for sophisticated shoppers on the other side of the Golden Horn, serious bayanlar (ladies) bring their sharpened elbows here. Stroll through the hidden Ottoman hans (caravanserais) and labyrinthine shopping streets, where the waft of cinnamon and clove intensifies as you approach the historic Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı).

 

By the shore at Eminönü, ferries belch grey clouds over seagulls circling for scraps of simit (small rings of bread decorated with sesame seeds), and street vendors sell everything from fresh fish sandwiches to fake Rolexes.

 

4. Climb aboard Istanbul’s ferries

 

Spanned by two mammoth bridges, and with a third on the drawing board, the Bosphorus is traversed on a daily basis by thousands of cars, ferries, fishing boats and launches. Travelling in the famous public excursion ferry alongside massive tankers and cargo ships making their way from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea certainly makes a memorable day trip. Climb aboard a ferry at sunset, when the grandiose silhouette of the Old City is thrown into relief against an orange-red or dusky pink sky.

 

 

5. Surrender to the steam in a bathhouse

 

In life, there aren’t too many opportunities to wander seminaked through a 16th-century Ottoman monument. Unless you visit İstanbul, that is. The city’s world-famous hamams (Turkish baths) offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in history, architecture, warm water and soap suds – all at the same time. Many of the imperial mosque complexes include a hamam, and there are innumerable examples of historic neighbourhood baths dotted throughout the streets of the Old City – most, alas, now derelict or converted to shopping centres. Exceptions include the famous Çemberlitaş Hamamı, built by command of Nur Banu Valide Sultan, wife of Selim the Sot and mother of Murat III; and the Cağaloğlu Hamamı, commissioned by Sultan Mahmut I.

 

6. Sample the flavours of İstanbul

 

More than anything else, İstanbullus love to eat. Here food is much more than mere fuel. Instead, it’s a celebration of community. Meals unfurl with great ceremony – they are joyful, boisterous and almost inevitably communal. The national cuisine has been refined over centuries and is treated more reverently than any museum collection in the country. That’s not to say it’s fussy, because what differentiates Turkish food from other national noshes is its rustic and honest base. The meze (hors d’oeuvres) you’ll eat will be simple, the kebaps austere, the salads unstructured and the seafood unsauced. Flavours will explode in your mouth because ingredients are used in season.

 

The country’s best chefs come to İstanbul to perfect their art, and you’ll be able to order a better executed Italian pasta or fiery Thai curry from here. There’s a mind-boggling array of options so the possibilities are endless. As the Turks say, Afi yet olsun! (Good appetite!)

 

 

 

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