Welcome to Istanbul
“If the earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital” – Napoleon Bonaparte
A few facts about Istanbul
- Istanbul is the only city in the world which is both in Europe and Asia geographically.
- Istanbul has the third oldest subway in the world, built in 1875. London subway was built in 1863 and New York subway in 1868.
- Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4,000 shops.
- Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world for about 900 years.
- When the city was part of the Ottoman Empire there were over 1,400 public toilets all around the city. At the same time, there weren’t any in the rest of Europe.
- Istanbul’s old name of Constantinople came from the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great who rebuilt the city on seven hills, to match the famous seven hills of Rome.
- Four bronze horses which are decorating today San Marco Cathedral in Venice, were taken from Istanbul (Constantinople back then) by the Crusaders in the 13th century
- Agatha Christie wrote her famous novel “Murder on the Orient Express” at Pera Palas Hotel in Istanbul.
Safety in Istanbul, Turkey
During your stay for your treatment, you will have opportunities to tour the city of Istanbul. Our tour guides will show you popular spots, and food to taste.
Here is a taste of what your trip might look like:
Our tour will start with the visit of the Old City. It is alive with history, culture and architecture dating back to Roman and Ottoman times. The first stop is at the church of the Divine Wisdom-Hagia Sophia from the 6th century. Although constructed as a church by Emperor Justinian, it was later in the 15th century transformed into a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror, and proclaimed a museum by Atatürk in 1935.
The tour continues on to the magnificient Blue Mosque, named so because of the blue tiles that line the walls, from 17th century.
The next stop will be Underground Cistern which was built during the reign of Justinian I (527-565) to supply water to the palaces in the vicinity.
Visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with 60 streets and 5,000 shops, and attracts about 240k visitors daily. It is well known for its jewellery, hand-painted ceramics, carpets, embroideries, spices and antique shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for leather, gold jewellery and the like. The bazaar has been an important trading center since 1461.
The half day tour will start with the visit of Egyptian Bazaar (or Spice Market, Misir Çarsisi, built in 1664). It is filled with the fragrance of the exotic East.
Spices, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, lokum (Turkish Delight) and other edibles fill most of the shops, though jewelry and other high-margin goods have begun to move in.
It’s no wonder: this is prime retail space, right at the southern end of the Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn, right next to the New Mosque (Yeni Cami)
Next stop is going on a cruise! The guests embark the boat for their Bosphorus Excursion which lasts approx. 2 hours. The cruise takes you past the last palaces of the Ottomans, the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi palaces, as well as 19th and 20th century, beautiful wooden mansions and modern villas that form the elegant section of the city.
After the cruise, Topkapı Palace, the residence of the sultans for almost three centuries, is in the plan. Built in 1453, many sultans played out the drama of the Ottoman sovereign here. The tour of the palace includes visits to the great palace kitchen with its collection of chinese celadon porcelain and the imperial.
The tour continue with historic church of St. Savior in Chora which was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Logotet Theodoros Metochites produced the frescoes and mosaics, which today constitute one of the world’s most important examples of early Byzantine pictorial art. The mosaics tell the story of the New Testament from the birth of The Virgin Mary to a magnificent scene showing the Resurrection of Christ.
Famous pedestrian «Istiklal Street» runs 2km from Taksim Square nearly all the way to the landmark Galata Bridge. Although it is the beating heart of the city, the one million people that pass it every day. Yet it serves as a microcosm of Istanbul itself. It is full of bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs and old fashioned shops, there’s still traces of old Istanbul here.
Stop for a tasting of Stuffed Mussels on the way, great way to renew your love of shellfish.
Tunnel experience, second oldest metro in the world, it has just one stop to go down Golden Horn.
Enjoy a drink at one of the local cafes under the Galata Bridge and photo opportunity of Old City Center as you wrapp up your day.