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There’s nothing like starting to explore Istanbul by visiting its classics. If you book an Istanbul classics tour by walk You will be picked up from your hotel and your driver will take you to the tour’s starting point between 07:45 – 08:20 depending on your hotel’s location. The first stop of the tour is Sultanahmet Square, the heart of the Old City. This is our program:
|Highlights:||Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome of Constantinople, Cafer Aga Madrasa|
|Tips:||This is a walking tour so we suggest you to wear sport shoes|
|Payment Details:||You can pay to your guide during the tour (cash or credit card)|
|Pick up:||Pick up from the hotels according to the location (from Sultanahmet and Taksim Hotels only)|
|Drop Off:||At the end of tour, we will drop you off to your hotel (from Sultanahmet and Taksim Hotels only)|
Hagia Sophia (Closed on Mondays & replaced with Basilica Cistern)
The Byzantine emperor Justinian I, had Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) built, in all its glory, in under five and a half years. Finalized in 537 AD, this patriarchal basilica persisted as the largest cathedral in the world until 1453, when Constantinople was conquered by Ottoman armies and Sultan Mehmet, the Conqueror, converted Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
This was the former spiritual heart of the Byzantine Empire, considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World; Hagia Sophia is now a museum.
Blue Mosque (Closed on Friday Mornings because of the Friday Prayer)
Dating from the 17th century, this architectural masterpiece is well-known for its exquisite blue tiles and six elegant minarets. The Sultanahmet Mosque, or as it is commonly known, the Blue Mosque, took its name from the ruler at the time of its construction, Sultan Ahmet I. Built between 1609 and 1616, it is also known as the Blue Mosque for its thousands of blue and green toned tiles adorning its ceiling.
It stands next to Hagia Sophia, architected by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, and it’s said that the Sultan built the Blue Mosque in an attempt to rival the beauty of the former basilica.
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The construction of the Hippodrome began in 203 AD by a Roman Emperor and it was completed by Constantine the Great in 330 AD. Because of its immense capacity, the population of Constantinople came to observe the ceremonies, sporting events, demonstrations, and even executions which took place at the Hippodrome. During the Ottoman era, the Hippodrome was especially used for chariot races, leading to its Turkish name ‘At Meydani’- literally ‘Horse Square.’
Many treasures once adorned the Hippodrome; however, the brutal theft of the city during the Fourth Crusade (1204AD) mean that only three significant ancient monuments remain: the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine column from Delphi and Fountain of Wilhelm II.
Cafer Aga Madrasa (Closed on Mondays)
Caferağa Madrasa, a building which is an artwork was built by Cafer Ağa, an art lover itself. Workshops such as art, music, calligraphy, marbling, glassworks, and various handicrafts are currently offered in this 16th century building and can be enrolled by both Turkish and foreign artists and tourists.