|DAY 3: Full Day City Tour, Byzantine & Ottoman Relics
- After having breakfast at hotel, you will have a full day city tour. Hippodrome: The former center of sprotive and political activities of Constantinople. You will be able to see the Obelisk from Egypt, Serpentine Column from Delphi and fountain of Willhelm II.
- The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydaný in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with a few fragments of the original structure surviving. It is sometimes also called Atmeydaný (Horse Square) in Turkish. The word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos, horse, and dromos, path or way. Horse racing and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras.
- Blue Mosque: One of the biggest mosques of Istanbul from 17th century architecture is one of the principal adornments on the skyline of Istanbul. Also famous for its blue tiles and 6 minarest. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. While still used as a mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque has also become a popular tourist attraction. The design of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is the culmination of two centuries of both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church development. It incorporates some Byzantine elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. The architect has ably synthesized the ideas of his master Sinan, aiming for overwhelming size, majesty and splendour. It has 6 minarets along with 8 domes and 1 main one.
- The Topkapi Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years (1465-1856) of their 624-year reign. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a major tourist attraction and contains important holy relics of the Muslim world including the Prophet Muhammeds cloak and sword. The Topkapi Palace is among the monuments contained within the "Historic Areas of Istanbul", which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and is described in Criterion iv as "the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces of the Ottoman period. Construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people, and covered a large area with a long shoreline. The complex was expanded over the centuries, with major renovations after the 1509 earthquake and the 1665 fire. The palace contained mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint. The name translates as "Cannon gate Palace" from a nearby gate which has since been destroyed. From the end of the 17th century the Topkapý Palace gradually lost its importance as the Sultans preferred to spend more time in their new palaces along the Bosporus. In 1856, Sultan Abdul Mecid I decided to move the court to the newly built Dolmabahce Palace, the first European-style palace in the city. Some functions, such as the imperial treasury, the library, and the mint were retained in the Topkapi Palace.
- Lunch: Full Course Deluxe Menu at a charming restaurant. Continue to Hagia Sophia, Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician. The church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 49-foot (15 m) silver iconostasis. It was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years.
- The Grand Bazaar "Covered Bazaar" in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. The Grand Bazaar is located inside the walled city of Istanbul, in the district of Fatih and in the neighborhood bearing the same name. It stretches roughly from west to east between the mosques of Beyazit and of Nuruosmaniye. The Bazaar can easily be reached from Sultanahmet and Sirkeci by tram. Transferred to your Hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
( B, L )
|DAY 5: Full Day City Tour, South Cappadocia
- Your Tour Guide will meet you at your hotel lobby at 09:00 and you will have a full day city tour. (Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Valley, Selime Monastry, Yaprakhisar Monastry, Agzikarahan Caravanserai).
- Derinkuyu Underground City is an ancient multi-level underground city in the Derinkuyu district in Nevþehir Province, Turkey. With its five floors extending to a depth of approximately 60 m, it was large enough to shelter two to three thousands of people together with their livestock and food stores. It is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey and is one of several underground complexes found across Cappadocia. It was opened to visitors in 1969 and to date, about half of the underground city is accessible to tourists.
- Ihlara is a township with own municipality in Aksaray Province, Central Anatolia, Turkey. It is situated at about 40 km (25 mi) from the province seat of Aksaray and near the town of Guzelyurt. The township is famed for the nearby valley of the same name, Ihlara Valley, which is a 16 km (10 mi) long gorge cut into volcanic rock in the southern part of Cappadocia, following several eruptions of Mount Erciyes. The Melendiz Stream flows through the valley. What makes the valley unique is the ancient history of its inhabitants. The whole canyon is honeycombed with rock-cut underground dwellings and churches from the Byzantine period. Due the valleys plentiful supply of water and hidden places, here was the first settlement of the first Christians escaping from Roman soldiers. In the Ihlara Valley there are hundreds of old churches in the volcanic rock caves. The most known churches are Agacaltý Church with cross plan, Sumbullu Church, Purenliseki Church, Kokar Church, Yilanli Church, Karagedik Church, Kirkdamatli Church, Direkli Church, Ala Church, Kemerli Church and Egritas Church.
- Seilim Monastery was carved out the rock by Christian monks in 13th century. This is the biggest monastery in Cappadocia with a cathedral sized chruch. The wall were decorated with frescoes. There are a lot of religious and historical monuments. Caravanserais have been used since the 10th century. Trade across Turkey in medieval Seljuk times was dependent on camel trains (kervan, anglicized as caravan), which stopped by night in inns known as kervansaray or caravanserai, literally caravan palaces. These buildings provided accommodation and other amenities for the merchants and stabling for their animals. Caravanseraies were first seen in Central Asia during the times of Caravans, Ghaznavids and the Great Seljuk State. They were building fortresses called "Ribat". These buildings, first constructed as small buildings for military uses were later developed and changed into larger buildings and were used for both religious purposes and as inns for travelers. After the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel at around 18:00. Overnight in Cappadocia.
( B, L )