Wander the fabled city of Istanbul with Marmara Tours. Immerse yourself in a magical mosaic of history, culture and elegance as you capture the glories of the ages. Marvel at both the antiquities of Byzantium and the modern energy of Istanbul. Linger over a cup of rich Turkish coffee and then take a fascinating walk with us into the past.
Rustem Pasha Mosque
Through a warren of small streets, we will explore this small and beautifully exquisite mosque which is seen by few foreign visitors. One of the city’s architectural jewels, it was designed by the brilliant Ottoman imperial architect Sinan and its interior is covered with lovely brilliantly colored Iznik tiles.
Later, browse the wonderfully aromatic Spice Market with its ancient scents of cloves, cinnamon, frankincense and myrrh. An “L”- shaped market originally built in 1664, it is the center of the spice trade in Istanbul. There are nearly 200 shops selling a practically infinite supply of spices and dried fruits. You will also discover herbal medicines, exotic teas, caviars and nuts arrayed in barrels and baskets in fascinating colors.
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
Housed in the lavish and opulent 16th century Palace of Ibrahim Pasha, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is a treasure-chest of stunning objects from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. The collection exceeds 40,000 pieces and contains outstanding examples of calligraphy, miniatures, woodwork, ceramics and antique Turkish carpets. These displays recreate rooms or dwellings from different time periods and regions including a fully furnished Turkish nomad’s tent!
Your tour will continue with a visit to the Basilica Cistern, the vast underground reservoir built by Justinian in the 6th century. The imperial water storage tank features a vaulted brick roof supported by 336 beautiful Corinthian, Ionic & Doric columns. Forest of marble pillars rise up, two incised with the head of Medusa as your guide escorts you through this illuminated Underground Cistern