Highlights of Istanbul / lunch on board (IST - 02) Full Day
Begin your excursion with a drive through the business centre of the modern city, across the Galata Bridge, along the banks of the Golden Horn and under the Byzantine Aqueduct of Valens. On the way, see the Süleymaniye Mosque, dedicated to Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. Continue around the mighty city walls, which once protected Constantinople from the many invasions and attacks it suffered over the centuries.
In the Old City, your first visit will be to the Byzantine Hippodrome, which was once one of the largest chariot race arenas of the Byzantine Empire. Visit the Sultanahmet Mosque, where large groups of pilgrims start their pilgrimage to Mecca. It is decorated with 21,000 blue Iznik tiles naming it the "Blue Mosque". Walk to the world famous monument of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Church of Divine Wisdom, where you can see the superb mosaics and the marble decorations.
Return to the ship for lunch on board.
After lunch the tour continues with a visit the magnificent Topkapi Palace, the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans. See the famous treasury section with "Spoonmaker's Diamond", the 7th biggest diamond in the world.
During the tour you will also have the opportunity to get a cultural taste of Turkey by enjoying an exhibition of oriental carpets, jewellery or leather goods.Remarks