Meet your private guide at Istanbul cruise port and board your private, air-conditioned minivan. As you head for the European side of the city, listen to enlightening facts about this Asian-European metropolis that, as Constantinople, was the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires.
Your first stop is the Chora Church, also called the Kariye Museum, in the Fatih district. Originally built in the 5th century, before being rebuilt between the 11th and 14th centuries, this Byzantine gem is adorned with magnificent mosaics and frescoes. Head inside to marvel at the gold 14th-century masterpieces, including those on the domes depicting Christs genealogy and Mary with the baby Jesus.
Continue to the city's Sultanahmet area and Basilica Cistern. Descend into this underground, 6th-century water facility and discover how it once brought water into Istanbul before being shut down and forgotten for centuries. Explore the illuminated, pillar-packed interior and see the Roman-era Medusa heads that the cistern's Byzantine builders regarded merely as rubble and used as bases for two pillars.
Continue to the Egyptian Bazaar, also known as the Spice Bazaar, in the Eminn district. With your guide, delve into this colorful labyrinth of stalls that was first established in 1664. Absorb the heady aromas of the nut, spice, oil and sweets stalls, and perhaps bargain for baskets, jewelry and other souvenirs with help from your guide.
Afterward, return to your minivan and drive back to the cruise port, where your tour ends.
Please note: The Chora Church is closed on Wednesdays. If your tour falls on a Wednesday, the Hagia Sophia Museum will be visited instead.
Worry-free Shore Excursion:
We will ensure your timely return to Istanbul cruise port for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.