After you meet your guide beside Hagia Sophia Museum begin your 3.5-hour small-group walking tour by entering this architectural masterpiece. Follow your guide through this former Byzantine Christian Basilica and learn how it was converted to a mosque in the 15th century and then a museum about 500 years later. Admire the intricate details of Christian mosaics, relics and gaze up at the impressive columns and dome structure that will beg you take photos.
Next, leave Hagia Sophia and stroll to Sultanahmet Square to marvel at the German Fountain. As you observe water gush from this Neo-Renaissance fountain, hear how Germany’s General Emperor Wilhelm presented this gift to Turkey to symbolize the two countries longstanding solidarity.
Afterward, continue with a short walk to the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the epicenter of political and sporting life in Istanbul during Roman and Ottoman empire reign. Listen as your guide tells tales of raucous riots, exciting chariot races, and chaotic rebellions that once dominated this area.
Finally, explore the famous Blue Mosque which was commissioned in the early 1600s by 19-year-old Sultan Ahmet to challenge the brilliance of the Hagia Sophia. As you wander with your guide, stare up at the six towering minarets and enjoy the grandeur of the immense dome that fills Istanbul’s postcard worthy skyline. Inside, walk along and capture stunning views of the blue Iznik tiles that cover the walls and ceiling. Then, snap a few close-ups of the elegant stained-glass windows that fill the mosque with vibrant colors. Step out of the Blue Mosque, and promenade back through this historic area to the beginning where your tour ends.
Note: On Mondays Hagia Sophia is closed and will be replaced with Basilica Cistern.