FULL DAY PRIVATE ITINERARY BYZANTINE & OTTOMAN ISTANBUL
After seeing major attractions of Istanbul, we suggest these special experiences
Walk on the City Walls
To feel the history of Byzantium and the Ottoman era the best place are city walls. Our stroll through history begins in Yedikule Fortress - Dungeons where many diplomats were imprisoned when the Ottoman Empire declared war to that country. Not only diplomats – but some Ottoman sultans were also put in jail and executed in some of the dungeons here! What else? We see the Gates of the walls, the cemetery of the Orthodox Patriarchs and the miraculous Ayazma of Balikli, some Works of Architect Sinan, and more churches. Highlight of the tour is the opportunity to walk on the historic walls. First, we walk on the walls in the Yedikule Fortress, then we walk over a kilometer from Belgrate Gate to Silivri Gate - This will definitely keep your feet on the ground.
Istiklal Street is the most living and most colorful street of Istanbul. Pedestrianized since 1988, the street has been for over 150 years the nightlife center of the city. Countless bars and clubs bring light to the downtown area in the evenings. During daylight, Istiklal is home to many historical embassy buildings, fancy hotels, apartment buildings, streets, theatres, restaurants, shops. Our tour begins in the heart of Istanbul - the Taksim Square- where you meet your guide. You will stroll on the exiting little side streets of Istiklal Street, sit in one of the intriguing coffee shops and talk with your guide, see the amazing Embassy buildings, visit Armenian and Romaic churches, ancient districts, impressive walkways and much more.
Turkish Coffee Trail
Coffee is the national drink of Turkey with a long historical tradition : it began in Egypt from where the Ottomans brought the first coffee beans to Istanbul in 1519. The first coffee shops were opened some 30 years later. Prohibiton decrees have been claimed by several Ottoman Sultans. Our tour begins with a visit to a museum that presents some exhibits related to Turkish coffee history. Following a Turkish Coffee Course participants will follow the historical “Coffee Route” – where we will have coffee tasting in historical venues. Tiny streets, historical walkways, intriguing old bazaars, Ottoman coffee storages.. And a guide that will exhilarate the past and make your day valuable is the event of this day!
Dining Out the Turkish Way
This is a real traditional night in Istanbul : no professional belly dancers, no folkloric dancers, no touristic places ! But much much more
You will be taken to where 'real people' go to dine in a 'Turkish Way'. You will see and have a chance to meet local people having fun with their friends. We begin the evening in a traditional 'Simit Bakery'. Simit is a bread roll, which is covered with grape molasses and sesame seeds. We take our simits and visit one of the local kiraathane'- which literally means reading rooms-but-in reality is a coffee shop with lots of men with mustaches playing cards or backgammon! After having traditional Turkish tea in a traditional tea glasses we visit another traditional place: Ocakbasi-which is a traditional self-service barbecue restaurant where you sit by the fire and grill your kebabs, along with glass of Turkish Raki of course! We continue our gourmet journey passing, seeing and sniffing by some Turkish Restaurants. Finally, we end up in a Meyhane – a traditional Tavern where you taste 'Meze', drink 'Raki' and listen to live Turkish Music performed by Gipsy Musicians. Well if you think that is it for the night, you are wrong! We will offer you a traditional 'Iskembe Çorbasi’, which is a 'Tripe Soup'- the same way Turks complete their evening after being sated with 'Turkish Raki'… And of course no Turkish Night is 'a complete' without tasting the 'Türk Kahvesi'-Turkish Coffee. Sounds tasty huh! And to give it quality, you will be escorted by a Professional guide who will explain to you everything that you will need to know.
Unrevealed Covered Bazaar
Mark Twain wrote : "We went to the Grand Bazaar in Stamboul, of course, and I shall not describe it further than to say it is a monstrous hive of little shops – thousands. I should say - all under one roof, and cut up into innumerable little blocks by narrow streets which are arched overhead."
With over 4000 shops in 64 streets and with 22 gates, the-Grand Bazaar - or Kapaliçarsi in Turkish - , looks like a maze.
This definitely is not a shopping tour but rather a walk that will lead you through shops where they sell leather goods, sweets, dried fruit and spices, jewelry, glassware, pottery, fabrics, belly dancing costumes, t-shirts and all sorts of souvenirs.
Our main goal is to visit workshops where you will see how gold is melt in fire, as it has been for centuries; you will witness how the craftsmen fix degrees on carats; you will see how artisans do their engraving on silver.
This tour is not a shopping tour but a discovery and lecture about the history and building of the Covered Bazaar.
Cruise on the Bosphorus Strait (Full day)
This tour is organized every day of the year yet can be cancelled - without prior notice - in case of adverse weather conditions.
We mixed and matched this excursion with a wonderful boat trip !
You will first visit the Spice Bazaar and walk together to the embankment. You take the regular ferryboat and sail with it to Anadolukavagi village. Your guide specialist on Bosphorus will explain you everything en route. You will disembark in Anadolukavagi and have a walking tour of these charming Ottoman districts full with historic houses. You will keep walking for twenty minutes through a green area and reach to a Genoese Fortress. Following the walk - which takes about one and a half hour – you will return to the village and have lunch. After lunch embark to the boat and continue sailing for another one and a half hour where we disembark near the Spice Bazaar. Then we will drive you back to your hotel. During your tour, you will see charming houses, fortresses, palaces and much more.