Bespoke Istanbul Private Walking Tour
Bespoke Istanbul Private Walking Tour
Skip the line at museums with our fast track passes.
You will be picked up in our Private Luxury Vehicle from your hotel.
Places you will visit:
Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque
Built between 532 and 537, Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom, Ayasofya) represents a brilliant moment in Byzantine architecture and art. It was the principal church of the Byzantine Empire in its capital, Constantinople (later Istanbul), and a mosque after the Ottoman Empire conquered the city in 1453. The decision of the Turkish government in 1934 to establish Ayasofya as a museum was intended to make it a repository of human history—all human history, not a single history confined to one religion or people. Recently, this decision was annulled, turning the building again into a mosque.
The Hagia Sophia, one of Turkey’s most popular tourist sites, has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1985.
Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque)
Also known as the Sultan Ahmet Camii (or Sultan Ahmed Mosque), this breath-taking building is one of the most majestic Ottoman mosques in all of Turkey.
The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, by the architect Mehmet Ağa, instructed by Sultan Ahmed I. It was designed as an imperial show of strength to complement the imposing Hagia Sophia Mosque, which faces it across Sultanahmet Square. Unlike the Hagia Sophia, however, it is supported by four “elephant foot” pillars and the central dome (23.5m in diameter and 43m high) is flanked by four semi-domes, making it nearly a square in shape. It is dubbed the Blue Mosque because of over 20,000 handmade ceramic Iznik tiles that decorate the interior, featuring many different tulips, rose, carnation, and lily designs, well lit by 260 windows.
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was an arena used for chariot racing throughout the Byzantine period. First built during the reign of Roman emperor Septimius Severus in the early 3rd century CE, the structure was made more grandiose by emperor Constantine I in the 4th century CE. The Hippodrome was also used for other public events such as parades, public executions and the public shaming of enemies of the emperor. Following the Fourth Crusade in the early 13th century CE, the Hippodrome fell out of use and its spectacular monuments and artworks were looted.
Topkapi Palace Museum
The Topkapi Palace is one of the world’s largest surviving palaces and was built between 1460 and 1478 under the orders of Sultan Mehmed II a few years after he conquered Constantinople. The palace served as the home of the Ottoman Sultans for almost four centuries. It was also the state’s administrative and educational headquarters.
After Mehmed’s death, about 30 sultans ruled from the palace renovating and expanding it to its current appearance – a unique mix of Islamic, European, and Ottoman architecture styles. Comprising four courtyards and over 400 rooms, the palace was home to an estimated 4,000 people, including 300 concubines in the Harem.
Topkapi Palace is an architectural marvel that celebrates the rich culture and history of the Ottoman Empire.
Did you know that the palace kitchen comprises a collection of almost 12,000 porcelain pieces, including a celadon bowl from China that would, apparently, change color if the food within contained poison? If you’re in Istanbul, a visit to Topkapi Palace is a must-do if you want to indulge in the city’s rich history and culture.
The Palace was the political center of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to 19th century.
Basilica Cistern was designed to service the Great Byzantine Palace and surrounding buildings. It was able to store up to 100,000 tons of water delivered via 20 km of Aqueducts from a reservoir around Belgrad Forest. When Ottoman Empire took over the city, it was not used for long years. Because the water which stays in the cistern doesn’t run and smell after a while. That is why it was not used for a long time by the Muslims and had been forgotten. Petrus Gyllius who was researching Byzantine Antiquities in the city discovered the Basilica Cistern in the 16th century.
The Grand Bazaar (Covered Bazaar)
(Kapalıçarşı) was constructed in 1455 as a center for local trade of clothing and jewels. Ottoman Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet, commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror, ordered the construction of two stone buildings where merchants could sell their products and make a profit for the Hagia Sofia Mosque.
Quickly, the two buildings became a center for trade in Istanbul. By the end of the 16th century, the Grand Bazaar grew tremendously in size and demand and into what we see today. The structure has not changed or developed since. Throughout the centuries, the structure has withstood many natural disasters, with fixable damage, thanks to its unique architecture that was ahead of its time.
Istanbul’s location in the heart of the Ottoman Empire made it a center for trade between three continents. This quickly made the Grand Bazaar easily accessible and a focal point for Meditteranean trade.
From the 17th-19th centuries, European travelers noted that Istanbul was unlike any other trade center in its variety, quality, and amounts of products and goods.
During the Ottoman Age, merchants of the Grand Bazaar was placed in guilds with other merchants that ranked the same or played a similar role in society and the economy. Later, the number of traders and shops could no longer be added or developed, which excluded anyone from joining a guild unless a merchant predecessor died or if a merchant wanted to retire and accept a considerable amount of money
•Private licensed tour guide.
•Private Vip vehicle.
•Fast-Track Museum passes.