Begin with pickup from your hotel in Taksim or the Historic Peninsula, then travel to Hagia Sophia in an air conditioned vehicle. Learn the dramatic history of the 6th-century church, whose artwork and architecture reflects its time as a Orthodox church, mosque, and modern-day museum. See artwork from the Byzantine and Turkish periods, and explore the upper gallery, an impressive dome that’s often neglected by city guides.
Walk a short distance to the Blue Mosque, a functioning religious site that dates back to the golden age of the Ottoman Empire. Don't miss the hand-painted Iznik tiles that give the mosque’s interior its distinctive color—more than 20,000 tiles were used in construction.
Continue into Hippodrome Square, the historic site of ancient Roman games and chariot races. Take in the Egyptian obelisk, the Snake Column, and the German Fountain, and find out about Kaiser Wilhelm II’s fascination with the eastern world. Make a final stop at the Grand Bazaar, where you’ll learn about Turkish carpets at an export center, then have free time to browse shops full of souvenirs, handicrafts, and spices. This tour concludes with drop-off at your hotel.