1st Day : ISTANBUL
Arrival at Istanbul Ataturk Airport
After customs clearance, reception of the group, transfer to your hotel in Istanbul for four nights.
2nd Day : ISTANBUL
Plunge into the early Byzantine and Roman city. This walking tour begins with the Istanbul Archeology Museums, where there will be an in-depth survey of the sections devoted to the development of the city to set the stage.
Explore the Roman period Hippodrome where chariot races once enthralled the crowds and the nearby mosaics from the Great Palace at the in situ Mosaic Museum and walk over the remains of the senate or Magnaura. Gaze upon the great church of Holy Peace, Hagia Irene, first built by Constantine and the new excavations of the bishop’s church adjacent to it. Visit Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Kucuk Ayasofia Mosque) built before Justinian became emperor and then delve underground to see Yerebatan, one of the many cisterns that provided water for the city. Complete the tour with Justinian and Theodora’s crowning glory, the 6th-century church of Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia.
3rd Day : ISTANBUL
Discover the outer parts of Constantinople. Driving along the Sea of Marmara coastal road and sea walls on your right, pieces of the imperial ports are visible and see the location of Septimius Severus’ 2nd C.E. walls and then where Constantine built his walls as a consequence of the city’s rapid growth until arriving at the Theodosian land walls of the early 5th century. View the remains of the great monastery of St. John in Studios before proceeding to visit the Yedikule castle or Castle of Seven Towers, built around the earlier Arch of Triumph built on the ancient Via Egnatia. Pass the Cannon Gate (Topkapi), where the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II blasted through the walls in 1453. Climb on the walls to view the city that stretches in every direction. Ponder the death of Constantine at the remains of the Porphyrogenitus Palace (Tekfur Saray) Behold the awesome mosaics and frescoes of the late Byzantine church of Holy Savior in Chora (Kariye) and the earlier Pammacharistos Church (Fethiye Mosque). Peek into the church of St Mary of the Mongols, still in use as a church.
View Medieval Byzantium at Constantine Lips Monastery (Fenari Isa Mosque), the Myraelion Church (Bodrum Mosque), and ancient Forums and, of course, the Grand Bazaar which has been a site of trading and shopping since the 5th century C.E.
4th Day : ISTANBUL
After some free time in the Spice Bazaar, board a morning cruise up the Bosphorus to enjoy the splendid geographic location of the city with lunch by the Bosphorus. Pass under the aqueduct of Valens to the Church of St. Mary Kyriotissa (Kalenderhane Mosque), where the floor plan of an early roman bath is distinguishable. It served as a Franciscan church during the period of Frankish rule in the 13th century. View the impressive early medieval Byzantine church of Sts. Theodosia and Euphemia (Gul Mosque), the lovely small cross-in-square structure of the Church of the Panepoptes (Eski Imaret Mosque), and the imposing Pantocrator Church where once a large monastery and hospital stood with the church.
5th Day : DEPARTURE
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Istanbul International Airport.