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 full-day of sightseeing in Istanbul.
First, you will visit the Suleymaniye Mosque. Built by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan on the order of Sultan Suleiman I (Suleiman the Magnificent), the Suleymaniye Mosque dominates the third hill of old Istanbul, and is strikingly graceful and less ornate than many other imperial mosques, thus lending itself to meditation and quiet reflection.
Next, visit the Church of St Saviour in Chora. Built in the 11th century, the walls are decorated with beautiful mosaics and frescoes. The mosaics depict the life of Virgin Mary and the infancy, genealogy and ministry of Christ.
Then, you will visit the Egyptian Bazaar, the second largest covered market in Istanbul. It was constructed in the 1660s as part of the Yeni Camii (New Mosque) complex. The name derives from the herbs, and spices imported from or through Egypt. It is still the best place to buy Turkish delight, dried fruit, exotic spices and herbs.
Lunch is suggested at Hamdi Restaurant, located on the Golden Horn. You can taste traditional Turkish kebabs.
After your lunch, visit the 16th Century palace of the Sultan’s Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasa, which today houses the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum. The museum contains what many consider to be the finest collection of Islamic artifacts in the world. The museum is well laid out and contains more rare examples of ceramics, Koran cases, calligraphy, textiles, metalwork and illuminated manuscripts. Its antique carpet exhibit is renowned; the carpets, kilims and prayer rugs form one of the richest and oldest collections in the world.
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.