Imperial Istanbul Half-Day Tour: Hagia Sophia, Basillica Cistern and Grand Bazaar

Duration: 4 hours
Destination: Turkey, Turkey, Istanbul
from
3662

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  • 4 hours
  • Istanbul
  • E-Voucher
  • Lowest Price
  • Cancellable

Overview

Get a glimpse of Istanbul's fascinating Imperial legacies on this half-day sightseeing tour with an expert local guide. First visit Hagia Sophia, once one of the largest basilicas in the world and now the second-most visited museum in Turkey. Venture below ground to the ancient Basilica Cistern, which once supported the Great Palace of Constantinople, and hone your haggling skills at the bustling Grand Bazaar, one of the world's largest and oldest covered markets where you can shop for jewelry, spices, leather goods and souvenirs galore.

Itinerary
This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Kapali Carsi, Kalpakcilar Cad. Sorguclu Han No: 22, Istanbul 34126 Turkey

Your Imperial Istanbul tour starts with pickup from your hotel in the early afternoon. Traveling by minivan, your guide will spend five hours showing you the fascinating history and culture of Turkey's largest city.

Delving into Istanbul's ancient past, you'll learn that this city served as the capital of a whopping four empires: the Roman Empire (330–395), the Byzantine Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). Strategically located along the Silk Road, linking Europe and the Middle East, Istanbul has been fought over for thousands of years.

Your first stop is Hagia Sophia, a former Greek Orthodox church built in the 6th century by the Roman Emperor Justinian. The seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Hagia Sophia was one of the largest basilicas in the Christian world, and was converted into an Imperial mosque after the Ottoman conquest. Today it is a magnificent museum revealing Istanbul's complex layers of history and featuring stunning Byzantine mosaics. Join locals and visitors alike as you explore the second-most visited museum in Turkey with your guide, who'll explain what you see.

Just a few paces from Hagia Sophia lies the Basilica Cistern, your next stop. The largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city, the Basilica Cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I to provide a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople.

Back above ground, head to the Grand Bazaar to practice your bargaining skills at one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. The original market was erected in the 15th century, shortly after the Ottoman conquest. Today you'll find a dizzying array of local treasures at more than 3,000 shops spread across 61 streets. Browse jewelry, leather, pottery, spices, carpets and more, and soak up the atmosphere of this cultural hotspot as your guide leads you through.

Your tour ends with hotel drop-off.

Please note: You may visit the Basilica Cistern or Nakkas Cistern, Hagia Sophia (Closed on Mondays; will be replaced with Chora Museum), Grand Bazaar (Closed on Sundays; additional time will be spent at the other locations).

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya), Ayasofya Square, Sultanahmet, Istanbul 34122 Turkey

St Sophia

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Basilica Cistern, Alemdar Mahallesi, Yerebatan Caddesi, No:1/3, Istanbul 34410 Turkey

Basilica Cistern

Duration: 1 hour

Inclusions
  • Local guide
  • Transport by air-conditioned minivan
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Entry/Admission - Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya)
  • Entry/Admission - Basilica Cistern

Exclusions
  • Gratuities
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not recommended for children aged 4 and under
  • Children 18 years and under must be accompanied by an adult
  • In the event of any museum closures, an alternative similar museum will be visited
  • Hagia Sophia will be closed on Mondays, should you travel on this day, you'll visit the Chora Museum instead
  • The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays and on religious holidays (September 1-4, 2017) should you travel on these days, you'll spend additional time at Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
Departure Point

Pickup from centrally located Istanbul hotels


Departure Time

1:00 PM


Return Details

Returns to original departure point at approximately 5pm

Voucher info

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Duration

4 hours

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

User's Reviews

Image - 01 Feb 2018 -

AMAL ASHOK G

It was a good tour the guide was informative. The historical references and the magnificent architecture at Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern leaves you spellbound. Good to book with a definite skip-the-lines experience. Long queues mostly at these popular monuments. Sadly, Grand Bazaar was closed being Sunday, however, the guide took us to the spice bazaar, more commonly called an Egyptian Bazaar.

Image - 17 Mar 2016 -

Chris D

The tour was extremely well organised . The guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. This tour is highly recommended.

Image - 28 Oct 2015 -

Jenifer C

A really good tour. Guide informative, efficient and helpful.

Image - 22 Oct 2015 -

LillyStefan

Great way to visit all the important historical sites of Istanbul! We were picked up from our hotel in a nice minibus and taken to meet the group who were on the full day tour. Tour guide was very knowledgeable. Make sure you each lunch before the tour begins, otherwise when you arrive at the Grand Bazaar there are plenty of places to grab a doner.

Image - 05 Oct 2015 -

teddie p

This is worth taking as they take you to the major sites and our guide also told us about the hippodrome which was very interesting!! We had been looking for it on our own but couldn't find it. Our guide was very knowledge about the tour!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Glad we took it!!

User's Picture Gallery

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Basilica Cistern

Most impressed with the recycled pillars and capitals !

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Hagia Sophia

Awe inspiring

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Hagia Sophia

The Hagia was a highlight

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Galata-Brücke

Galata-Brücke

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Am Goldenen Horn

Blick auf die Süleymaniye-Moschee

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Istanbul - Goldenes Horn

Blick vom Galataturm aufs Goldene Horn und die Altstadt

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Hagia Sophia

Juxtaposition of religions

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Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

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Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

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Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

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