Monday, May 23, 2011

Istanbul Turkey

Fascinating Turkey bridges two continents, figuratively and literally, and is an exotic confluence of cultures that make it unique among countries. When all is said and done, Istanbul is the vibrant essence of the Turkey. This capital city of the Eastern Orthodox faith presents a lineup of museums, religious monuments and palaces that reveal many centuries worth of history. The Blue Mosque is one of the great masterpieces of Islamic architecture, and the Topkapi Palace was the royal center of the Ottoman Empire.

Day 1: Arrival Welcome to Istanbul

After you arrive at Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul an English-speaking driver will meet you just outside the customs hall will to take you to the Hyatt Regency, and have a sign with your name. You will be staying at the Hyatt Regency for 5 nights in deluxe accommodations. Hyatt Regency Istanbul Hotel reflects the spirit and culture of the magical city of Istanbul. The hotel enjoys a spectacular setting overlooking the Bosphorus. This fabled channel links the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara.

In the 2,500 year history of Istanbul, the Bosphorus, its extension the Golden Horn and the historical peninsula have always been coveted places.

After freshening up and eating lunch, our guests will have free time to explore the historic landmarks of the Old City or just take in the spectacular setting overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.

Day 2: Explore Istanbul’s Old Town

Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast at the Hyatt and meet your English speaking guide in the lobby for an all day tour. Your tour begins by exploring the Old City of Istanbul and The Blue Mosque with a visit to the famed Topkapi Palace.

Lunch at a local restaurant where you can sample some of the wonderful Turkish cuisine.

Following lunch, visit Hagia Sofia, one of the most important Christian monuments of all time. Built by Constantine the Great in the 6th century reconstructed by Justinian in 536.

Topkapi Palace is the most beautiful example of Ottoman civil architecture. Topkapi is the biggest museum in Turkey and has the richest collection. The first courtyard is a magnificent wooded garden Visit the Harem, with some three hundred different chambers and halls and view the magnificent jewel collection.

Hagia Sofia or “Holy Wisdom” Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, your day concludes at the Grand Bazaar a covered marketplace with nearly 4,000 vendors selling Turkish products, spices, leather goods, brass and of course Turkish carpets.

Return to your hotel around 6PM.

Day 3: Exploring Istanbul’s Art Collections

Enjoy complimentary continental breakfast at the hotel, then meet your guide to start this exciting day exploring the ancient and modern art of Turkey. Your day starts with Istanbul Modern Museum of Art, along the shore of the Bosphorus.

Your driver guide will then drive along the scenic Bosphorus Avenue to the Family Villa of the Sabanci’s, followed by a visit to the Private Museum of Lady Sadberk.
A lunch stop along the banks of the Bosphorus.
After lunch a visit to the Museum of Turkish Arts.

 Istanbul Modern has exhibitions on two floors. The museum's permanent exhibition, along with the shop and the restaurant, is located on the top floor. Temporary exhibitions are located on the lower floor, along with the cinema and the library.
Sakip Sabanaci, one of Turkey’s leading industrialists, created a place on a hilltop overlooking the Bosphorus to showcase the cultural masterpieces of Turkey and stem the tide of these masterpieces departure from Turkey.

Private Museum of Lady Sadberk is the first privately owned museum in Turkey, created by the late wife of Vehbi Koc, The museum exhibits a rich array of porcelains, enamels, fabrics, and jewelry.

Day 4: The Jewels of Byzantine Art

Start the day with a complimentary continental breakfast at hotel. This morning you have a 4 hour guided tour starting at the Byzantine City Walls that were constructed between 413 and 447 by Emperor Theodosius II, just in time to defeat Attila, the Hun.

Lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant where you can enjoy the wonderful Turkish cuisine typically starting off with a wide selection of tapas-type small plates called mezes followed by grilled fish. or kebabs Tour continues to the 6th century Underground Cistern, an unusual structure in Istanbul, exhibiting the engineering marvels that solved water supply problems.

Last site of the day is to the Hippodrome which was a colossal stadium that housed horse races.

Hippodrome of Constantinople was a horse-racing place and social center of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today the area is officially called Sultanahmet Square. Hippodrome was spreading over 480x117 meters and said that it holds 100,000 spectators.

Underground Cistern is thought to have been built after the Nika revolt in 532 AD. It was known as the Basilica Cistern during the Roman period, as there was a Stoa Basilica above the pre-existing one at the time. After the conquest of the city by the Ottoman Turks, it was forgotten and nobody knew that it existed. Re-discovered in 1545, it was used to water the gardens of Topkapi Palace.

Day 5: Explore The Bosphorus

After breakfast at the hotel, guests will board the charming public ferry for a ride on the Bosphorus. Along the way you will see the old Ottoman wooden mansions, marble places and small fishing villages. The ferry cruise will end at the fishing village of Sariyer, where the Black Sea merges with Marmara Sea.

Enjoy a seafood lunch along the Bosphorus and your guide will drive along the European shore of the Bosphorus and take you to the magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace

The Dolmabahçe Palace served as the main administrative center of Ottoman Empire from 1853 to 1922, apart from a twenty-year interval (1889-1909) in which the Yildiz Palace was used.

Return to the hotel late afternoon to enjoy your last evening in Istanbul.

Day 6: Depart for home.

Your driver will meet you in the lobby of the hotel to transfer you back to the airport for your flight home. We hope you will return with fond memories of your visit to Istanbul the city that bridges the cultures of East & West.