Constantinople & Istanbul: A Tale of Two Cities
30 Sep-06 Oct 2022 Led by Sue Rollin
Friday 30 September
Fly from London Heathrow to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines TK1980 at 11:30, arrive 18:20 and transfer to our hotel. Welcome dinner and then retire for the night. D
Day 2: Istanbul
Saturday 1 October
A day spent exploring the Byzantine monuments, beginning with the Hippodrome, once Constantinople's great arena for chariot races and other public entertainment followed by the majestic 6C cathedral of Haghia Sophia, a remarkable testament to Byzantine architectural geometry. Continue to the Yerebetan Saray, an extraordinary underground cistern with a forest of over 300 columns. The nearby Mosaic Museum houses original ornamental pavements from the Great Palace of the Byzantine emperors. In the afternoon we visit the little church of St. Saviour in Chora, a jewelhouse of Late Byzantine mosaics and frescoes, then continue to the market area for a walk through the fascinating Covered Bazaar originally founded by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. There is some free time for independent exploration and shopping. B
Day 3: Istanbul
Sunday 2 October
We continue our exploration of the Ottoman city with a morning visit to the Topkapı Palace, opulent residence of the Ottoman sultans and political centre of the empire. We see the magnificent displays of Chinese porcelain and Ottoman textiles as well as the Imperial Treasury with its wealth of gold and jewels and the harem, centre of the sultan's private life. In the afternoon we visit the imposing Süleymaniye mosque complex, masterpiece of the great Ottoman architect Sinan, and the later mosque of Sultan Ahmet, also known as the 'Blue Mosque', unique in Turkey with its 6 elegant minarets. B
Day 4: Istanbul
Monday 3 October
Morning private boat trip along the Bosphorus, the straits separating Europe and Asia, past castles and ornate Ottoman mansions and palaces. We visit the Sadberk Hanım museum, which displays both a fine archaeological collection spanning the Anatolian Neolithic to Byzantium and a magnificent range of Ottoman textiles, ceramics, calligraphy and metalwork. After lunch by the Bosphorus we return to the Golden Horn and see the mosque of Rüstem Pasha, Süleyman the Magnificent's grand vizier, its interior covered from floor to ceiling in high quality Iznik tiles. Finally we walk through the colourful Spice Market and there is free time to stroll around the bustling market area. B, L
Day 5: Istanbul
Tuesday 4 October
A full day excursion to Edirne, for a time capital of the Ottoman empire until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. This charming town of Turkish Thrace boasts some fine early Ottoman mosques: the Eski Cami (Old Mosque) is in the central market area, the Üçserefeli mosque experiments with a large dome and outer courtyard and the Beyazidiye complex, on the banks of the River Tunca, included a clinic which now houses displays of Ottoman medicine. Edirme's crowning glory is the Selimiye, the most audacious of Sinan's sultanic mosques and the culmination of the Ottoman classical style. B
Day 6: Istanbul
Wednesday 5 October
Morning visit to the Dolmabahce Palace to see the opulent state rooms and ostentatious ceremonial hall. Its extravagant 4.5 ton chandelier was a present from Queen Victoria to the Sultan. Return to the Hippodrome area for the Palace of Ibrahim Pasha, grand vizier of Süleyman the Magnificent, which now contains the excellent Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art. Free afternoon to explore independently. Enjoy a Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B, D
Day 7: To London
Thursday 6 October
Drive beside the majestic Land Walls of Constantinople and cross the Golden Horn to Pera, the former European district of the city, now known as Beyoglu. Walk from Taksim Square to the Pera Palas hotel along the former Grande Rue de Pera, the height of fashion among 19th century European residents and still lined with the imposing façades of their former embassies. Visit the Pera Museum, a private museum which houses an interesting collection of Orientalist painting. Transfer to the airport for the return flight to London. Fly Turkish airlines TK1971 departing Istanbul at 14:55 and arrive Heathrow at 16:05. B
Dates & Prices
|Dates||Price per person (Double/Twin share)||Single room supplement|
|30 Sep - 06 Oct 2022||£1,995.00||£492.00|
- International flights with Turkish Airlines
- Airconditioned accommodation with private facilities
- Daily breakfast. Welcome & Farewell dinners in Istanbul and lunch by the Bosphorus
- All transfers and sightseeing arrangements
- Services of a local guide for sightseeing
- Services of Sue Rollin as trip scholar
- Services of Stuart Young as tour manager
- All tips and Gratuities
- 100% protection of your payment by our ATOL and ABTA licences
- Travel Insurance*
- Any expenses of a personal nature
Sightseeing arrangements may vary according to local circumstances at each place on a day to day basis. Trip scholars may decide to alter the programme where they feel it is necessary.
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