Information for Tours Istanbul Turkey Bosphorus

Bosphorus Strait
The Bosphorus is the world's narrowest strait used for international navigation, it connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea , and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea ). Separating Rumelia (European side) from Anatolia (Asian Turkey), the Bosphorus is an important transport connection, although the waters can be hazardous and difficult to navigate. Graceful mansions line parts of the Bosphorus and Ortaköy Square is a great place to relax near the waterfront at one of the many outdoor cafes. The Maiden’s Tower was originally constructed in the 5th century BC in the middle of the Bosphorus and is a point of interest with a café and restaurant. There are numerous tours up and down the Bosphorus, some at dusk and include dinner. For those on a tighter budget, public ferries travel between the East and West frequently and for less than one euro.

Mainder's Tower
The Maiden's Tower, or Kiz Kulesi in Turkish, off the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul, , was originally built by the Greeks in 408 BC to control the movements of Persian ships on the Bosphorus. In the Byzantine period it was known as Leander's Tower. It was reconstructed and restored several times in history by the Byzantines and Ottomans (and as recently as 1998). This former lighthouse is a popular tourist destination today and the interior of the tower has been transformed into a café and restaurant. From this unique vantage point on the river, there is an excellent view of Istanbul . Several trips on private boats go to the tower daily. The name Maiden’s Tower could originate from several legends. It is popularly thought to be the residence of a sultan’s daughter who a soothsayer predicted would be killed by the bite of a snake on her 18th birthday. In order to prevent this tragic end, the sultan placed her in the tower away from land, and snakes. On the day of 18th birthday, he brought her a gift of exotic fruits, but an asp had found its way into the basket unbeknownst to the sultan. She was bitten and tragically died in her father’s arms.

Rumeli Fortress
The Rumeli Fortress (Rumelihisari) is located on the European side of the Bosphorus. The fortress was built in 1452 to better control the comings and goings in the narrowest point of the strait which spans 660 metres. As ships were obliged to come close to the shore to avoid strong currents, it was the perfect vantage point for this sort of control. Just one year later the fortress was supplanted in importance by two others further up the Bosphorus (at the entrance to the Black Sea ). After this, the fortress was used as a prison and storage area. The area near the fortress was the site of beautiful waterfront residences in the late XVIII century. In the 1950s, the crumbling area was restored and a museum was opened in the fortress as well as an open concert area, though the original features were not well preserved (the seaside residences have all been destroyed by the highway running along the outside of the fortress walls). In addition to summer concerts, the building is an open air museum open to the pubic daily (except Mondays) from 9:00 to 16:30

Dolmabahçe Palace
The Dolmabahçe Palace (Turkish: Dolmabahçe Sarayi) is on the European side of the Bosphorus, and was the main administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire from 1853 to 1922, (with the exception of a twenty-year interval). This European-style palace was the first of its kind and was built by Sultan Abdülmecid in the mid 1800s. The Sultans formerly lived in the Topkapi Palace and moved to this more modern and better equipped structure upon its completion. Covering an area of 45,000 m2 the palace has 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths (hamam) and 68 toilets. The palace is composed of three parts; the men’s quarters, Mabeyn-i Hümâyûn, the ceremony halls Muayede Salonu and the Harem-i Hümâyûn quarters for the family members. Fourteen tons of gold leaf were used to gild the ceilings of the palace. Queen Victoria offered an opulent housewarming gift: the world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier weighing 4.5 tons (about the weight of an elephant). The crystal staircase is made of elegant Baccarat crystal, brass and mahogany and all the carpets are from the exquisite Hereke Imperial factory. Originally located directly on the water, the bay was gradually filled in to become the imperial garden. In Turkish Dolma means filled and the bahce means garden, and this is where the palace gets its name.

Beylerbeyi Palace
Beylerleyi Palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz (1830–1876) and built between 1861 and 1865 as a summer residence and a place to entertain visiting heads of state. Empress Eugénie of France visited Beylerbeyi on her way to the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and had her face slapped by the sultan's mother for daring to enter the palace on the arm of Abdülaziz. (Despite her initial reception, Empress Eugénie of France was so delighted by the elegance of the palace that she had a copy of the window in the guest room made for her bedroom in Tuileries Palace, in Paris.) Other regal visitors to the palace included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The palace was the last place of captivity of the deposed sultan Abdulhamid II from 1912 until his death there in 1918.

The Beylerbeyi Palace — or Beylerbeyi Sarayi in Turkish (Beylerbey = "Lord of Lords") — is located in the Beylerbeyi neighbourhood of Istanbul, Turkey at the Asian side of the Bosphorus. An Imperial Ottoman summer residence built in the 1860s, it is now situated immediately north of the 1973 Bosphorus Bridge .
Designed in the Second Empire style by Sarkis Balyan, Beylerbeyi Palace seems fairly restrained compared to the excesses of the earlier Dolmabahçe or Küçüksu palaces.

Suleymaniye Mosque
The stunning silhouettes of Faith & Suleymaniye mosques leave an indelible impression on visitors to Istanbul , with their graceful domes and slender minarets sprouting from the edifice like delicate stalks of asparagus. The Fatih Mosque is the sanctuary of the imperial complex built by Mehmed II to commemorate his conquest of Constantinople in 1453. A new mosque was built in its place after an earthquake in 1767. The mosque was actually a beehive of social activity which incorporated many other public spaces including a school, library, hospital, a sort of motel for merchants, a hamam (Turkish bath) and a cemetery: some of which are functioning to this day. Incorporated in the new mosque are Baroque decorations typical of XVIII century Ottoman mosques. On Wednesdays just outside of the Fatih mosque there is a busy street market worth visiting. The Suleymaniye Mosque is an imperial mosque which was built in the mid- XVI century. The white marble on the interior of this beautiful example of Ottoman architecture is splashed with colour from sunlight passing through the colourful stained glass. Just like the Fatih Mosque, the Suleymaniye was a complex of schools, hamam, soup kitchen for the poor and more.

Sultanahmet - Istanbul
Sultanahmet: Many places of tourist interest are concentrated in Sultanahmet, in heart of the Imperial Centre of the Ottoman Empire. The most important places in this area, all of which are described in detail in the “Places of Interest” section, are Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofia, Sultan Ahmet Camii (the Blue Mosque), the Hippodrome, Kapali Carsi (Covered Market), Yerebatan Sarnici and the Museum of Islamic Art.

In addition to this wonderful selection of historical and architectural sites, Sultanahmet also has a large concentration of carpet and souvenir shops, hotels and guesthouses, cafes, bars and restaurants, and travel agents.

Blue Mosque
In its interior, blue XVII century Iznik tiles give the Blue Mosque its name. They decorate nearly every corner of this stunning mosque. Large chandeliers hang from the domed ceilings and this and the 260 windows allow natural light to illuminate the interior. The large dome is 23.5 metres (77 feet) in diameter and 43 metres (104 feet) high. On the floor are beautiful carpets which make soft prayer mats for the typical prayer position: kneeling toward Mecca with the worshipper’s forehead to the ground. When you visit the Blue Mosque, remember that it is closed for 1-1.5 hours five times a day during prayer time: the first is early in the morning, second at noon time, third in afternoon, fourth in evening and last, before going to bed

Spice Bazaar
Allow your senses be invaded by the Egyptian or Spice Bazaar, an essential visit, despite being much smaller and perhaps existing in the shadow of the massive Grand Bazaar. This colourful and aromatic market offers nearly every spice imaginable and has done so since before the XVII century structure was built. Not exclusively dedicated to spices: sweets, nuts, teas and other delights can be found here. This is the perfect place to buy apple tea to go with the tea set you bought at the Grand Bazaar! One thing to look out for is the Lokum, or Turkish Delight, irresistibly soft, these chewy sweets are an Istanbul original. Try honey flavoured, pistachio, rosewater or lemon. Head towards the centre of the building for lower prices

Underground Cistern
You may remember James Bond weaving through columns in a boat in watery underground churchlike atmosphere in the movie “From Russia with Love”. This was the Underground Basilica Cistern, also known as the " Sunken Palace " or "Yerebatan sarayi" in Turkish. It was built by order of Roman emperor Justinian in 532 AD to be the main water supply of the Byzantine Palace . The cistern can hold up to 80,000 cubic metres of water. It is believed that Justinian built the cistern separately from the basilica, but as the need for water grew, the basilica was also used to store water. It has 12 rows of 28 Corinthian and Doric columns which are 9 metres high (a total of 336), the most intriguing of which are the medusa head columns which are facing sideways and upside-down, the reason for which is unknown. Located in Sultanahmet Square. It is open daily from 9:00 to 17:30 and the entrance fee is 10 Turkish lira (€5.20) for foreign visitors.

Beyoğlu and Taksim: Beyoglu is an interesting example of a district with European-influenced architecture, from a century before. Europe’s second oldest subway, Tunel was built by the French in 1875, must be also one of the shortest – offering a one-stop ride to start of Taksim. Near to Tunel is the Galata district, whose Galata Tower became a famous symbols of Istanbul, and the top of which offers a tremendous 180 degree view of the city.

From the Tunel area to Taksim square, is one of the city’s focal points for shopping, entertainment and urban promenading: Istiklal Cadesi is a fine example of the contrasts and compositions of Istanbul; fashion shops, bookshops, cinemas, markets, restaurants and even hand-carts selling trinkets and simit (sesame bread snack) ensure that the street is packed throughout the day until late into the night. The old tramcars re-entered into service, which shuttle up and down this fascinating street, and otherwise the street is entirely pedestrianised. There are old embassy buildings, Galatasaray High School, the colourful ambience of Balik Pazari (Fish Bazaar) and restaurants in Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage). Also on this street is the oldest church in the area, St Mary’s Draperis dating back to 1789, and the Franciscan Church of St Antoine, demolished and then rebuilt in 1913.

The street ends at Taksim Square, a big open plaza, the hub of modern Istanbul and always crowded, crowned with an imposing monument celebrating Attaturk and the War of Independence. The main terminal of the new subway is under the square, adjacent is a noisy bus terminal, and at the north end is the Ataturk Cultural Centre, one of the venues of the Istanbul Theatre Festival. Several five-star hotels are dotted around this area, like the Hyatt, Intercontinental and Hilton (the oldest of its kind in the city). North of the square is the Istanbul Military Museum.

Taksim and Beyoglu have for centuries been the centre of nightlife, and now there are many lovely bars and clubs off Istiklal Cadesi, including some of the only gay venues in the city. Beyoglu is also at the centre of the more bohemian arts scene.

Hagia Irene
Located inside the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the Hagia Irene (Turkish: Aya Irini) is a museum and a former Byzantine style Eastern Orthodox church in the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. The building is believed to stand on the site of a pre-Christian temple and the first church built in Constantinople. Commissioned in the 4th century by Constantine I, it burned down shortly after and was restored in the mid VI century and once again after an earthquake in the VIII century. It was enlarged in the XI and XII centuries. The atrium is an original feature of the edifice, and the interior is decorated with mosaics and frescoes. Although it is open as a museum every day aside from Monday, visitors need special permission for admission. There are classical music performances here on occasion because of the buildings excellent acoustics.

Chora Church
Located in the Edirnekapi area of Istanbul, the ChoraChurch, Chora Mosque or Chora Museum(Kariye Müzesi / Kariye Camii / Kariye Kilisesi in Turkish) was originally built as a church and displays some of the finest examples of Turkish Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in its interior.

The ChoraChurch was originally built outside the walls of Constantinople, to the south of the Golden Horn. It became a mosque in the 16th century when the Ottomans ruled, and in 1948 it ceased to function as a building of worship and became a museum. Because iconic images are prohibited in Islam, the mosaics and frescoes were hidden behind a layer of plaster. It was restored in 1948 by Thomas Whittemore and Paul A. Underwood started a restoration program and this is when it ceased to be used as a mosque. Ten years later it was opened to the public as a museum.

Hagia Sophia ( St. Sophia )
Hagia Sophia is a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and to have "changed the history of architecture." It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 A.D. on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and was in fact the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site (the previous two had both been destroyed by riots). It was designed by two architects, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The Church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 15m (49 foot) silver iconostasis. It was the patriarchal church of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years. It was the church in which Cardinal Humbert marched up to the altar and excommunicated Cerularius, marking the official start of the Great Schism.

In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be converted into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over. The Islamic features — such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside- were added over the course of its history under the Ottomans. It remained as a mosque until 1935, when it was converted into a museum by the Republic of Turkey.

Topkapi Palace
The Topkapı Palace (Turkish: Topkapı Sarayı)or in Ottoman Turkish: طوپقپو سرايى, usually spelled "Topkapi" in English) is a palace in Istanbul, Turkey, which was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years of their 600-year reign,from 1465 to 1853.

The palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments and is a major tourist attraction today, containing the most holy relics of the Muslim world such as the prophet Muhammed's cloak and sword.Topkapı Palace is among those monuments belonging to the "Historic Areas of Istanbul", which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and is described in Criterion iv as "the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces of the Ottoman period."

Initial construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. The palace is a complex made up of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At the height of its existence as a royal residence, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people,formerly covering a larger area with a long shoreline. The complex has been expanded over the centuries, with many renovations such as after the 1509 earthquake and 1665 fire. It held mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint.The name directly translates as "Cannon gate Palace", from the palace being named after a nearby, now destroyed, gate.

Topkapı Palace gradually lost its importance at the end of the 17th century, as the Sultans preferred to spend more time in their new palaces along the Bosporus. In 1853, Sultan Abdül Mecid I decided to move the court to the newly built Dolmabahçe Palace, the first European-style palace in the city. Some functions, such as the imperial treasury, the library, mosque and mint, were retained though.

After the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1921, Topkapı Palace was transformed by government decree on April 3, 1924 into a museum of the imperial era. The Topkapı Palace Museum is under the administration of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The palace complex has hundreds of rooms and chambers, but only the most important are accessible to the public today. The complex is guarded by officials of the ministry as well as armed guards of the Turkish military. The palace is full of examples of Ottoman architecture and also contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasure and jewelry.

Golden Horn
Golden Horn: This horn-shaped estuary divides European Istanbul. One of the best natural harbours in the world, it was once the centre for the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests. Today, attractive parks and promenades line the shores, a picturesque scene especially as the sun goes down over the water. At Fener and Balat, neighbourhoods midway up the Golden Horn, there are entire streets filled with old wooden houses, churches, and synagogues dating from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides at Fener and a little further up the Golden Horn at Eyup, are some wonderful examples of Ottoman architecture. Muslim pilgrims from all over the world visit Eyup Camii and Tomb of Eyup, the Prophet Mohammed’s standard bearer, and it is one of the holiest places in Islam. The area is a still a popular burial place, and the hills above the mosque are dotted with modern gravestones interspersed with ornate Ottoman stones. The Pierre Loti Cafe, at the top of hill overlooking the shrine and the Golden Horn, is a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility of the view.

Ortaköy: Ortakoy was a resort for the Ottoman rulers because of its attractive location on the Bosphorus, and is still a popular spot for residents and visitors. The village is within a triangle of a mosque, church and synagogue, and is near Ciragan Palace, Kabatas High School, Feriye, Princess Hotel.
The name Ortakoy reflects the university students and teachers who would gather to drink tea and discuss life, when it was just a small fishing village. These days, however, that scene has developed into a suburb with an increasing amount of expensive restaurants, bars, shops and a huge market. The fishing, however, lives on and the area is popular with local anglers, and there is now a huge waterfront tea-house which is crammed at weekends and holidays.

Şile: A pleasant, small holiday town, Şile lies 50km from Üsküdar on the Black Sea coast and some people even live there and commute into Istanbul. The white sandy beaches are easily accessible from the main highway, lying on the west, as well as a series of small beaches at the east end. The town itself if perched on a clifftop over looking the bay tiny island. There is an interesting French-built black-and-white striped lighthouse, and 14th century Genoese castle on the nearby island. Apart from its popular beaches, the town is also famous for its craft; Sile bezi, a white muslin fabric a little like cheesecloth, which the local women embroider and sell their products on the street, as well as all over Turkey.

The town has plenty of accommodation available, hotels, guest houses and pansiyons, although can get very crowded at weekends and holidays as it is very popular with people from Istanbul for a getaway, especially in the summer. There are small restaurants and bars in the town.

Oldcity Istanbul Activity
Istanbul Oldcity Tours
Istanbul Oldcity Tours Activities
Old city of Istanbul has many things to do and to visit. If you are coming to istanbul as a visiter, our recommendation is to visit. First of All, St. Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Tokkapi Palace and Suleymaniye Mosque, Rustempasa Mosque, Gallata, Taksim, Besiktas, Beyoglu, Dolmabahce Palace, Beyler Beyi Palace, Camlica Hill and to do bosphorus cruise for half day or full day two continents together. If you have limited time and you like to visit some of these places let us help you to organize your Tours Istanbul Turkey.

If you are not sure what to do in Istanbul, our tour istanbul turkey itineraries can give you some option that you can choose!...

If you want to have more information you can write us our you can join some of our tours.

Bosphorus Activity
Bosphorus Tours
Bosphorus Strait;
we organize some activities for bosphorus which is cruising on the bosphorus by day or night.

Bosphorus Cruise:
You will be pick up from your hotel in the morning and continue to city wall and informed about and then golden horn sightseeing, spice bazaar, we depart for bosphorus by private boat. Our guide inform you about both side asian and european side together beacuse when we are on the bosphorus; we go to both side by zig-zag, we come back to harbour, after you will have information about bosphorus bridge and rumeli castle. Bosphorus boat cruise trip is about two hours and available from morning 08:30 to 13:30 or from afternon 13:30 to 17:30 this is the most recommended one of tour in istanbul. If you would like to see Bosphorus by night, you can join our dinner cruise organization from 20:00 to 24:00.





Why do we

Istanbul Incoming Tours understands that individual travelers like to create their own itineraries, choose their own schedules, and decide on their hotels in Istanbul, Ephesus, Cappadocia, Troy, Bursa, Gallipoli, Pamukkale ( Cotton Valley ). With Istanbul Incoming Tours, nothing is impossible. Choose from over 650 flexible itineraries covering every corner of Turkey from Istanbul, Cappadocia, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Antalya, Bodrum, Kemer, Marmaris, Ankara, Izmir, to Nemrut mountain (Eastern Turkey). Combine them to create an itinerary to suit you & your family. So whether you are in Turkey for a layover, mini-vacation, extended holiday, or pre/post of an incentive programme or event held in Turkey that you are participating.

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