Lilium Tourism

istanbul city tours

ISTANBUL 

“The Gate between EAST and WEST.”

Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul – all three names are for a city with a great past and interesting present. No other city on earth had changed its name as frequently as the metropolis between east and west, affectionately called by the citizens “STAMBUL”. The only city to have served as the capital of three empires, the only one astride two continents, the meeting place of the East and the West, Asia and Europe, Christianity and Islam, one of the earliest cities with a population of more than a million, now the cultural, social and economic centre of the modern Turkey. Continuously inhabited for 27 centuries, Istanbul is one of the oldest major cities — along with Athens, Jerusalem, Beijing, Rome, Damascus and Aleppo. Just a few cities have played as significant a role in history as has Byzantium-Constantinople-Istanbul.

The incomparable site of the city at Bosphorus, framed by the Black Sea and Marmara Sea, gives it a fascinating panorama. Istanbul has a unique silhouette. The traveller stays here at the gate of Asiatic continent and feels himself in the middle of Orient.

Istanbul, the biggest city of Turkey has today approx. 13 million citizens, due to the endless stream of Anatolian migrants. The essential part of the city is on the Southeast point of Europe and is divided from its Asiatic suburbs by Bosphorus. The European part of the city is divided by an inlet of the sea, the Golden Horn.

Among the monuments like mosques and Sultan’s palaces of Byzantine and Ottoman culture there are many bazaars, Turkish baths (hamam), theatres, restaurants, clubs and discotheques.

ISTANBUL CANNOT ONLY BE VISITED!!!
ISTANBUL MUST BE EXPERIENCED!!!

1. THE IMPERIAL TOUR (Daily Morning Tour)
We begin our tour of the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul, at Saint Sophia*. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, this church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses. Next we visit the Blue Mosque, which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Dating from the 17th century, it is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in the palace of Ibrahim Pasha, grand vezir to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, houses exhibits from many eras, but is most famous for its collection of Ottoman carpets. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi survive. The Grand Bazaar, was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewellery, ceramics, icons, and leather goods. Wandering through the Grand Bazaar, indulge in some shopping, Ottoman style. (Also available on Tuesday afternoons)
*On Mondays, when Saint Sophia is closed, we visit the Chora Church, famed for its mosaics and frescoes.
* Pick up time from hotel: 08.30
* Ending time: 13.30


2. OTTOMAN SPLENDOURS (Daily Afternoon Tour)
We begin our tour at Topkapi Palace, which, from the 15th to the 19th century, was the principle residence of the Ottoman Sultans. We will visit the fabulous Imperial Treasury and the Baghdad Kiosk. Topkapi Palace is now a museum and has unrivalled collections of jewellery, including the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, the 3rd largest in the world, Ottoman court costumes and ceramics, notably one of the world’s finest collection of early Chinese ceramics, much of it gifts from other rulers. Interestingly, some of the ceramics have a special glaze that was said to change colour in the presence of poison. We also visit theImperial Armoury, displaying centuries of Ottoman weaponry. But perhaps the loveliest features of Topkapi Palace are its courtyards with their ancient trees, and it is easy to imagine the sultan strolling here far from the cares of state and empire. The Süleymaniye Mosque is the largest and grandest of Istanbul’s imperial mosques. It dates from the 16th century heyday of the Ottoman Empire, and was designed by Sinan, the greatest architect of his day and originator of the Classical Ottoman style of architecture. Of the 2,000 structures Sinan designed, Süleymaniye Mosque and its complex of charitable institutions rank among the most important. (Every day except Tuesdays)
* Pick up time from hotel: 13.30
* Ending time: 17.30


3. SPECIAL: FULL DAY OLD CITY TOUR
(Comb. tours 1 & 2)

We begin our tour of the Sultanahmet district, the heart of old Istanbul, at Saint Sophia*. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, this church is one of the marvels of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famed for its mosaics, including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses. Next we visit the Blue Mosque,which owes its name to the exquisite tiles adorning its interior. Dating from the 17th century, it is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi survive. The Grand Bazaar (Closed on Sundays!), was the commercial heart of the old city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures – including carpets and kilims, silks, jewellery, ceramics, icons, and leather goods. Wandering through the Grand Bazaar, indulge in some shopping, Ottoman style. After lunch we continue our tour at Topkapi Palace(Closed on Tuesdays!), which, from the 15th to the 19th century, was the principle residence of the Ottoman Sultans. We will visit the fabulous Imperial Treasury and theBaghdad Kiosk. Topkapi Palace is now a museum and has unrivalled collections of jewellery, including the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, the 3rd largest in the world, Ottoman court costumes and ceramics, notably one of the world’s finest collection of early Chinese ceramics, much of it gifts from other rulers. Interestingly, some of the ceramics have a special glaze that was said to change colour in the presence of poison. We also visit the Imperial Armoury,displaying centuries of Ottoman weaponry. But perhaps the loveliest features of Topkapi Palace are its courtyards with their ancient trees, and it is easy to imagine the sultan strolling here far from the cares of state and empire.
*On Mondays, when Saint Sophia is closed, we visit the Chora Church, famed for its mosaics and frescoes.
* Every day except Tuesdays

* Pick up time from hotel: 08.30
* Ending time: 17.30


4. MORNING BOSPORUS CRUISE (Daily Morning Tour)
We begin with a brief visit to the 17th century Spice Bazaarone of Istanbul’s most colourful and bustling attractions. Next, we take an unforgettable cruise along the Bosporus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise boat, we view the dramatic sights lining the Bosporus’s wooded shores: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world’s longest and the massive Rumeli Hisari , a fortress built by Fatih the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. Also noteworthy are the 19th century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultan’s fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges.
* Pick up time from hotel: 08.30
* Ending time: 13.30


5. ASIA (Daily Afternoon Tour)
We begin by driving across the first Bosporus Bridge and head for the summit of Camlica Hill, which affords panoramic views of Istanbul, the Sea of Marmara and the Princes’ Islands. From here a short brings us to the Palace of Beylerbeyi on the shore of the Bosporus. Perhaps the most elegant of the late Ottoman palaces, Beylerbeyi boasts six sumptuously furnished reception halls. (Every day, except Monday and Thursdays)
* Pick up time from hotel: 13.30
* Ending time: 17.30


6. SPECIAL: FULL DAY BOSPORUS TOUR (Comb. Tours 4 & 5)
We begin with a brief visit to the 17th century Spice Bazaar (Closed on Sundays!) one of Istanbul’s most colourful and bustling attractions. Next, we take an unforgettable cruise along the Bosporus, the majestic strait that runs through Istanbul, linking Europe and Asia. From our cruise boat, we view the dramatic sights lining the Bosporus’s wooded shores: mosques, a bridge that for a time was the world’s longest and the massive Rumeli Hisari, a fortress built by Fatih the Conqueror in just three months as he prepared to take Istanbul. Also noteworthy are the 19th century mansions of the Ottoman elite and the Sultan’s fanciful gingerbread palaces and hunting lodges. After lunch we continue our tour by driving across the first Bosporus Bridge and head for the summit of Camlica Hill, which affords panoramic views of Istanbul, the Sea of Marmara and the Princes’ Islands. From here a short brings us to the Palace of Beylerbeyi (Closed on Mondays & Thursdays) on the shore of the Bosporus. Perhaps the most elegant of the late Ottoman palaces, Beylerbeyi boasts six sumptuously furnished reception halls. (Every day, except Monday and Thursdays)

* Pick up time from hotel: 08.30
* Ending time: 17.30


7. ISTANBUL BY NIGHT
We visit an exclusive nightclub where we will enjoy authentic Turkish cuisine, including the delicious array of appetizers known as meze. The Turks are justly proud of their food. They are equally proud of their traditional music, and after dinner folk musicians from different regions of Anatolia will perform for us. And of course no night out in Istanbul would be complete without Turkish belly-dancers. We will be entertained by some of the cities finest.
*Pick up time from the hotel: 20.00
*Ending time 23.30


8. BURSA & CUMALIKIZIK VILLAGE (Full-day)
We travel by ferry to Yalova, then by luxury coach to Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and one of the great treasure houses of Islamic architecture. We will visit the Green Mosque and the neighbouring Green Mausoleum, both world-renowned for their superb tile decoration, as well as the late 14th century Great Mosque and the Koza Han, which for centuries was the centre of the silk trade. After enjoying a cable car ride up the slopes ofMount Olympus (Turkish= Uludag), we drive to the village of Cumalıkizik. This is one of the best preserved Ottoman villages in Turkey with scores of picturesque houses built in the traditional style. Lunch is at one of Bursa’s finest Turkish restaurants, the Darüzziyafe, where we will enjoy the finest Ottoman cuisine in a historic setting where Sultan Murat the Second once dined. (Available Mondays, Thursdays & Saturdays)
* Pick up time from hotel: 07.00
* Ending time: 21.00
* Valid for minimum 8 person!