- Culture & History
- The iconic spots of Istanbul: Imperial Gardens of Gülhane, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia.
We invite you to delve into the architectural masterpiece of East Roman (Byzantine) World, the mighty Hagia Sophia and Imperial seat of the Ottoman Empire, Topkapı Palace. Tour starts with the fresh breezes of Bosphorus during the ferry ride and you walk thorough the Sirkeci Train Sation (Orient Express) and Gülhane Gardens to reach Hagia Sophia.
The historical, architectural, religious and political landmark of the timeless city served Christianity for 916 years (537-1453) followed by 481 years of Islamic Era. It was converted into a musuem in 1935, lately in 2020 back to a mosque again. With its 56 meter high (181 feet) high central dome it was the largest structure on earth for 9 centuries.
Topkapı Palace will be the next treasure to discover. It is located majesticaly at the tip of historial peninsula overlooking both the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus Straight. Topkapi Palace was the residencial and administrative center of of 24 Ottoman Emperors (1453-1856) covering 125 acres. As a palace musuem today it displays a priceless collection of the classial Ottoman Era like the council room, imperial kitchens, armory, watches and clocks, Topkapi Dagger, 86 carat Kasikci diamond, palace library as well as sacred trusts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Who This Experience Is Good For
History lovers, anyone interested in East Roman (Byzantine) and Ottoman history.
Easy, no experience necessary.
Meet Our Local Host
Rana Erol was born in to a multicultural family in Istanbul where she still lives and walks among the historical and the modern streets of the amazing city. Her Armenian-Greek mother and Turkish father who love travelling, took her around the country where her interest to culture and history grew as she grew. She studied tourism management in Virginia, DC then became a tour guide when she got back to Turkey.
Her historical book “Gölgedeki Sırlar” got a first novel recognition and support from the Ministry of Culture. When she is not writing she leads trips in Turkey; explaining the history, culture and the people of Asia Minor while collecting characters and tales for her next novels. She also hikes, rides her bike, reads preferable by some sort of a water; sea, lake or a glass full of water.
8:00 Meet at Kadıköy Pier for Eminönü
8:15-8:45 Ferry ride to Eminonü
8:45-9:30 Sirkeci Train Station and Gülhane Gardens
9:45-10:45 Hagia Sophia
10:45-11:00 Walk to Topkapı Palace
11:30-13:30 Topkapı Palace
- Local guide (Aydın Kudu)
- Topkapı museum entry fee
- Harem entrance fee
- Anything not mentioned above
- Comfortable clothing and shoes, a light backpack with water and snacks.
Minimum To Operate
Deadline To Book
5 days prior to the start of the experience
Frequently Asked Questions
The tour was incredible! The tour guide knew so much about the history of every place we visited. This has got to be one of the best Remote Year experiences I’ve signed up on.
This is a very worthwhile afternoon of seeing the major sites in the historic district of Istanbul. Our guide, Aydin, was a wealth of knowledge about the history of Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire, and was able to put the major sites in historical perspective, which you would not be able to do if seeing the sites on your own. He also reorganized the order of our visits to the major sites to minimize our wait time as the lines to enter Hagia Sophia and Topkappi Palace can be long, especially when cruise ships are in town, which is almost every day. I highly recommend this tour for any first time visitor to Istanbul!