Arrive in Istanbul, you will meet with your professional guide at 9:00am, holding a name sign outside of the terminal building and and start your private half-day of sightseeing in Istanbul.
Your private tour of Istanbul starts with a visit to the Hippodrome, which was one of the largest chariot race grounds of the Byzantine Empire. Istanbul's Byzantine Hippodrome was the heart of Constantinople's political and sporting life, and the scene of games and riots through 500 years of Ottoman history as well. This was the largest hippodrome of the ancient world with a design that was conceptually based on the Circus Maximus in Rome. You will see Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, Constantine Column which are remained from the original Hippodrome.
Next, you will visit St. Sophia, the church of the Divine Wisdom. The architectural marvel of all time. It was built during Emperor Justinian reign ( AD 537 ) and it remained the greatest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet II who ordered to convert Hagia Sophia into a Mosque. In 1934, Atatürk proclaimed it a museum. The walls of
this beautiful piece of architecture are decorated with gorgeous mosaics.
Then, you will visit the Underground Cistern. It was built by Justinian in the 6th century. It is 70 meters wide and 140 meters long, with a capacity of 80,000 m³ of water. It has 336 beautiful columns that support the cistern, two of which are carved with the head of Medusa on the plinth.
Last, you will explore ninety-two streets of the famous Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar is the largest and oldest covered Bazaar in Turkey with more than 4,000 shops. A variety of Turkish Handicrafts, Oriental carpets, rare jewels and inexpensive souvenirs all sold in small shops next to each other. The streets are named according to the trades, such as gold and silver sellers, carpet sellers, booksellers, etc. The most oriental atmosphere in Istanbul is found in the bazaar.
At the end of your sightseeing, you will return to your ship.