Sunday arrivals are used as a guideline for this package, however, daily arrivals are available. Our Destination Specialists can provide you with a price for your preferred arrival date.
Your homebase while in Istanbul is the charming Arena Hotel. During your stay you will not need to spend much time finding all you seek. You can rest easy at night, and have plenty of time during the day to explore this wonderous city.
Once the imperial capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, Istanbul is both a city steeped in history and an exciting modern day hub of activity. Always described as a fusion of East and West, it is not difficult to understand why as you walk through narrow alleys flanked by wooden Ottoman houses to emerge in a funky restaurant and bar strip in the downtown area, the call to prayer mingling with modern Turkish pop. Bisected by the Bosphorous, a strategically significant passage of water which links the Black Sea to the Aegean, the city has several distinct divisions. Across the Golden Horn, a watery cul-de-sac which branches off the Bosphorous, is Sultanahmet which boasts some of the city's finest Byzantine and Ottoman monuments.
After exploring the Blue Mosque, St Sophia Museum and Underground Basilica you may like to dine on seafood at one of the countless restaurants along the narrow alleys of downtown Taksim. Afterwards why not board a local ferry to observe the beautifully lit sprawl of Istanbul by night and then finish your evening with the timeless wind-down of smoking a nargileh (Ottoman water pipe). But if nargileh doesn't appeal, there is always a glass of apple-tea to be drunk at the friendly insistence of the locals.
Blue Mosque built between 1609 and 1616 by Mehmet Aga, a student of the Great Sinan with 260 windows and named for the beautiful Iznik tiles which give the mosque its interior colour. Blue Mosque is one of the world' s great buildings with its six slender minarets gracing the outside, while the interior is a sea of blue. The original seventh minaret was later presented to the mosque at Mecca for diplomatic reasons.
The Blue Mosque, is an architectural masterpiece famed for its exquisite blue tiles and six elegant minarets. Built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet, it remains the centre of religious demonstrations in the Islamic religion. The nickname of "blue mosque" was given due to the numerous blue Iznik tiles in the interior, which is illuminated from the light of its windows. This is the only mosque in the world with six minarets and forms part of the city's skyline. There are light shows held on summer evenings at the Eastern Side of the mosque.
Hippodrome was built by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in 203 A.D. The hippodrome was a stadium which served as a meeting place for the politicians, for chariot races, wrestling, boxing, and other athletic activities that took place. Obelisk of Theodosius (The Egyptian obelisk) erected by Tutmosis III 1504-1450 B.C. before the temple of Karnak at Heliopolis. The Obelisk brought to Istanbul by Emperor Theodosius I was made of pink granite and its height is 17 meters. Originally, the Obelisk was 27 meters in height, 10 meters higher than it is today and weighed 800 tons.
Constantine Column was the landmark of the city because of its height of 32 meters. The column was erected in the fourth century by Constantine the Great. This monument was completely covered with bronze plates. The German Fountain was constructed to commemorate the second anniversary of visit to Istanbul by the German Emperor Wilhelm II. in 898. It was transported in its present site in 1900. The octagonal dome which houses the fountain is buttressed by eight marble columns. The dome's interior is covered with mosaic.
St. Sophia, the magnificent of all Byzantine churches and one of the world's finest and largest architectural work of art. It is built by Anthemius of Tralles and Isodorus of Miletus between 532 and 537 AD under the rule of Emperor Justinian. It is now a museum where early Christian mosaics and Islamic calligraphy live side-by-side.
Hagia Sophia is the great cathedral that was once the former spiritual heart of the Byzantine Empire. Considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World, Hagia Sophia has an architecture which was way ahead of its time. The central dome has a half-dome at either side and seems to be suspended in space. In the 19th century, extensive work was done to make the church more resistant to earthquakes. The interior is rich with mosaic tiles and arranged in murals. This is one of Istanbul's best know landmarks.
Grand Bazaar one of the largest and the oldest shopping malls in the world . It is a mini city that sprawls accross 65 streets and 50 acres and includes some 4000 shops, tiny cafes, and restaurants - all surrounded by a wall, and entered through any of eleven gates. It offers a sea of choices that will tempt even the nonshoppers with its local curios and souvenirs: carpets,jewellery, icons, leather, meerschaum pipes, ceramics, bronze and copperware.