Basilica Cistern
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Our most recommended Basilica Cistern Bus & Minivan Tours

Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

1. Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul on this 1, 2, or 3-day private tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attraction you'll visit on your tour include: The Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, more officially known as the "Sultanahmet" Mosque has striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden". Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Possible Itinerary for each day of the tour: Day 1: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome Day 2: Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal, Galata Tower Day 3: Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church, Fener/Balat Districts, Pierre Loti Hill

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia

2. Istanbul: Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia

Begin the tour of the Sultanahmet district in the heart of old Istanbul at Hagia Sophia. Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, this church is a marvel of world architecture. Its massive dome dominates the skyline of old Istanbul. It is famous for its mosaics including glittering portraits of emperors and empresses. Then discover the Basilica Cistern, s the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul; was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Explore the Grand Bazaar which was the commercial heart of the old city. Its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets and kilims, silks, jewelry, ceramics, icons, and leather goods.

Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

3. Best of Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Istanbul Tour

Explore Istanbul according to your own interests on a tailor-made sightseeing tour. A licensed guide will meet you in your hotel or port and work with you to create an itinerary that suits you best, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul. Marvel at monuments from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, such as Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern on the first day. On day two, take the public ferry to Bosphorus to see both Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. From here, visit Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and the spice market. Day three takes you on a walk through the streets of Fener-Balat neighboorhood. Enjoy a cable car ride and soak up views of Pierre Loti Hill, then visit Chora Church to see the mosaics and frescoes.

Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Tailor Made Private Tour

4. Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Tailor Made Private Tour

Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this 1-3 day walking tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attractions you'll visit on your tour include the Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or "divine wisdom," it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque, has striking blue tiles that give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace is a relic from the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace once boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from eight marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because, during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave it its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden" Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic two-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Your guide will work with you to create an itinerary that suits you, leaving you satisfied that you have seen all of Istanbul.

Istanbul: Secret City Treasures Private Tour with Lunch

5. Istanbul: Secret City Treasures Private Tour with Lunch

Explore the highlights of Istanbul according to your interests with your professional tour guide. Upon meeting your guide at your hotel or port, walk to the Sultan Ahmet where many of the attractions are located. Visit the Blue Mosque, also known as Mosque of Sultan Ahmet, which boats a unique feature of 6 minarets. View its glorious interiors and distinctive blue tiles and proceed to the only remains of Hippodrome of Constantinople, which consist of 3 monumental columns and a fountain. This is where chariot races took place in the past. Next, visit Topkapi Palace, once the seat of the Ottoman Empire. Presently, its a museum palace with a wide collection of porcelain, antiques, holy relics and other treasures. Next, proceed to Hagia Sophia, the church of Divine Wisdom, one of the greatest marvels of architecture, constructed as a basilica in the 2nd century by Emperor Justinian. Finally, it's off to the Grand Bazaar. Following the introduction by your guide at Turkey’s biggest oriental carpet export center you will have some free time to browse its 1200 spice and gold shops.

Full-Day Sightseeing Tour in Historic Istanbul

6. Full-Day Sightseeing Tour in Historic Istanbul

Take in the famous sights of historic Istanbul, with this one-day tour that gives you a perfect introduction to the city that blends Asia with Europe. On this sightseeing tour of Istanbul you'll see the Blue Mosque, one of the most famous monuments of both the Turkish and Islamic worlds. Built in classic Ottoman style, the mosque has 6 towering minarets, 260 windows in its main chamber, and is decorated with more than 20,000 Iznik tiles, making it a truly breathtaking structure. After the Blue Mosque, you’ll visit the Hagia Sophia Museum, built in the sixth century by Emperor Justinian. Following the Ottoman conquest, the building was converted into a mosque, and now lives on as one of the world’s most magnificent museums, housing beautiful Byzantine mosiacs. The tour also includes a trip to one of the largest and oldest palaces in the world, Topkapi, the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire which overlooks the Golden Horn. Finally, visit the Grand Bazaar, a covered market featuring 58 streets and more than 4000 shops. While there, take in the sights and smells of the jewellery, leather, spices and carpets on sale.

Istanbul Full-Day Private Christian (Byzantium) Tour

7. Istanbul Full-Day Private Christian (Byzantium) Tour

Take a full-day tour of Istanbul and explore it from the perspective of the Byzantine Empire. See ruins of Byzantine churches, Byzantine stone houses, superb mosaics and frescoes at the Church of St. Saviour of Chora, the city’s underground cistern, and more. Traveling by air-conditioned coach, you will drive to the Church of St. Saviour in Chora. The Turkish word "Kariye" is derived from the ancient Greek word "Chora," meaning outside of the city. It is known that there was a chapel outside of the city before the 5th century when the city walls were erected. The first Chora Church was rebuilt by Justinianus and, in the era of Komnenoi, served as the court chapel for important religious ceremonies. Continue to the Fener Orthodox Patriarchate, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the seat of Orthodox Christianity since Constantine the Great’s declaration of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. Visit Zeyrek Mosque, the former Pantokrator Church. Representing the most typical example of architecture of the Byzantine middle period in Constantinople, it is the second largest religious edifice built by the Byzantines still standing after Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is your next stop. For centuries it was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul`s in London, St. Peter`s in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia, or “Divine Wisdom,” it is one of the greatest examples of Byzantine architecture in survival, and has been called “The 8th Wonder of the World” for its spectacular art and architecture. End your tour at the Basilica Cistern, or Yerebatan Sarayı ("Sunken Palace"), the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath Istanbul. Located 500 feet (150 meters) southwest of the Hagia Sophia, on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, the magical atmosphere of the underground palace dates back to the 6th century reign of Emperor Justinian I.

Frequently asked questions about Basilica Cistern Bus & Minivan Tours

What are other things to do than Basilica Cistern Bus & Minivan Tours that are worth visiting in Istanbul?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Basilica Cistern

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What people are saying about Basilica Cistern

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 242 reviews

We came to Istanbul for the first time. Fortunately, we choose 3-day city tours with an individual guide. We were lucky to find an excellent guide who showed us historical and modern Istanbul. We visited the city slowly, discovering new places. The sightseeing plan was flexible and adjusted to our needs, possibilities and weather conditions. Sightseeing with a guide providing us with knowledge about history, cultural differences and, above all, paying attention to details that we would not notice ourselves. We saw not only well-known and visited places, but also more minor, very beautiful and undiscovered by most tourists. Thanks to our guide, the museums and mosques visited became more interesting. The knowledge that the guide shared with us contained not only details as well as the historical civilization and political context. We wish every tourist the great pleasure and honour of visiting the city with Mr Kadir Kucukeren! Thank you very much! Justyna & Krzysztof

We had a super nice day with our guide Haldun, saw many sights, had delicious food and in the evening in a bar with a great view of the Bosphorus. Simply brilliant and absolutely recommendable!

A very relaxed, individual and entertaining guided tour through the old town of Istanbul and the Sultan Palace, including Hagia Sophia

Mr. Murad is an excellent guide. We had a pleasant time with him. His knowledge is abundant. Great experience overall

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