Foreign Independent Tours is offering a 6 day tour of Old Istanbul which includes arrival and departure transfers, 5 nights accommodations, breakfast and a river cruise.
Your homebase while in Istanbul is the charming Boutique Hotel Nena Istanbul. Istanbul’s Hotel Nena is in the downtown, in Sultanahmet, and it is within in walking distance to the historical monuments. The Istanbul Hotel Nena Terrace Bosphorus Restaurant offers rich varieties of Turkish and European Cuisine with the excellent view of the 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.
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.
Travel dates available between September and October 2013 with prices from $809 per person.
Travel Agents earn 13% commission. FAM rates are also available from $649 per agent.
Foreign Independent Tours, Inc., www.fittours.com