Sultanahmet Square
Educational Activities

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Our most recommended Sultanahmet Square Educational Activities

Istanbul: Topkapi and Hagia Sophia Small Group Tour

1. Istanbul: Topkapi and Hagia Sophia Small Group Tour

Meet your professional and local guide at a central Sultanahmet location and enjoy a small group or private tour of the Hagia Sophia. See the famous landmark in all its 6th-century glory. Climb up the gallery with your guide to see the mosaics surviving from this ancient church, former mosque, and now internationally famous museum. Continue your journey to Topkapi Palace, the second stop for the day. Here you can explore the palace grounds, courtyards, and its Harem on a guided tour. Later on, visit the Harem, ruled by the Queen Mother who wielded domestic and political power (if option selected). The harem housed hundreds of women and family members as well as hundreds of eunuchs, who performed a wide range of duties. Marvel at its opulence and mystery and learn about this period in Istanbul's history. See several exhibitions inside the Palace. Admire cupboard doors inlaid with mother of pearl and tortoiseshell and stunning Iznik tiles with verses from the Quran. Your tour will end with a visit to the holy relics and the imperial kitchens.

Full-Day Walking Tour of Istanbul's Old City

2. Full-Day Walking Tour of Istanbul's Old City

The historic Old City in Istanbul is stunningly beautiful, and we can help you make the most of your visit with this full-day guided walking tour. Our professional local guide will take you through all the sights of the Old City, giving you valuable insight into the history of this fascinating place. The tour starts at the Hagia-Sophia Museum before you head to the world heritage monument. We will then walk to the Blue Mosque to see the glorious architecture of this historic building, which dates back to the early 1600s. Then it’s off to the Roman Hippodrome Square, where your tour will show you the Egyptian Obelisque, Roman Pillar, Greek Column and the German Fountain. Then it's off to a recently discovered Cistern. Afterwards, walk to the Topkapi Imperial Palace, the largest palace in Istanbul. Once the residence of Ottoman Sultans, the palace is now a museum, which houses different collections, each fascinating in their own way. The tour winds down at approximately 17:00, after a short walk to the entrance gate of the world famous Grand Bazaar.

Byzantine & Ottoman Relics of Istanbul Full Day Tour

3. Byzantine & Ottoman Relics of Istanbul Full Day Tour

On this full-day tour, you will discover some of the most magnificent sites of historical Istanbul, coming into contact with the historical wonders of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires and uncovering the roots of modern-day Turkish culture. See the heart of the Old City, the seat of two of history's most notorious empires. Visit Hagia Sophia, a wonder of ancient architecture, a basilica constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Just across from the Hagia Sophia stands the famous Blue Mosque with its striking blue iconic tiles and unique 6 minarets, built in the name of Sultan Ahmet. The Hippodrome was a center for sporting events, such as chariot races, as well as political activities in the Old City. Decorated by the Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Theodosius and the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, the Hippodrome is one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions. Next, you will visit the world-famous Grand Covered Bazaar, the world's largest "souk" (market) with nearly 4000 shops selling antiques, jewellery, gold, carpets, leather wares and more. You can even see a demonstration of the making of a traditional handmade Turkish carpet! Enjoy lunch, then move on to Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans. This sumptuous residence contains imperial treasures, sacred Islamic relics of the prophet Mohammed, Chinese porcelain, weapons, and more. You'll get to visit the Sultan Tombs at the Hagia Sophia, too!

Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome & Bazaar

4. Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome & Bazaar

Your 6-hour tour begins in the morning with a short drive from your hotel to the the ancient Byzantine Hippodrome, where your guide will show you the Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine Column, and Fountain of Wilhelm II. Afterwards you’ll visit the Blue Mosque, known for its 6 elegant minarets and blue Iznik tiles. See the Saint Sophia Museum, built as a church during the reign of Emperor Theodosius and destroyed in the fire of Nika Revolt in 532 A.D. After a lunch break at a local restaurant (included in the tour price), you’ll visit the Topkapi Palace, the residence and administrative center of the Ottoman sultans. You’ll also have the chance to shop for some Turkish handicrafts before the transfer back to your hotel.

Private Tour of Istanbul: Hagia Sophia & Grand Bazaar & More

5. Private Tour of Istanbul: Hagia Sophia & Grand Bazaar & More

The morning sun hits your face as you look out across the Bosphorus to a different continent. Here in Istanbul, the crossroads of the world, your day of excitement is just beginning. Today you'll be treated to a full day private tour of this exquisite town. Begin your journey at the Hagia Sophia. This incredible architectural wonder has stood on these grounds for centuries. For years it was the largest church in the world, but it is the dome that makes it stand out to this day. The church's name means "Divine Wisdom" and you'll soon discover why. Next, walk across the park to the Blue Mosque. Snap some pictures of the thousands of blue tiles that give this mosque its nickname. In Turkish, they still call it Sultanahmet Mosque, as it stands close to the Topkapi Palace and was used by the leaders of the city during their reign. After the more "modern" visits, we'll step back in time to the Hippodrome, built in 203 C.E. The Roman Emperor Septimus Severus built these grounds as a place for fun and games, and today they serve as a reminder of Istanbul's long history. We then head to Topkapi Palace, the home of rulers during the Ottoman Empire. Your guide explains to you its history and you can explore its many rooms filled with incredible relics of the past. Finally we head out for some shopping in the Grand Bazaar. These nearly 4,000 shops and stalls have everything your heart desires, so try your hand at bartering for the best deals around!

Istanbul: Best of Istanbul Tour with Lunch and Tickets

6. Istanbul: Best of Istanbul Tour with Lunch and Tickets

Meet your guide next to German Fountain and head first to the Hippodrome where chariot races were held during the Roman Empire. Next, marvel at the Blue Mosque, built in the early 1600s for Sultan Ahmet I, this is truly a masterpiece of architecture. The blue shade of the 27,000 pieces of Iznik quart tiles give the mosque it’s popular name and six towering minarets give its uniquely recognizable structure. Continue to Hagia Sophia to see a great blend of Christian and Islamic influences. Built in the 6th century by the emperor Justinian I, the building played a very important role in the Christian and Islamic worlds. After the Ottoman conquest, the bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over to convert the church into a mosque.   The next stop is at the Topkapi Palace, more than just an imperial residence for Ottoman sultans, it was the seat of the supreme executive and judiciary council for almost 400 years. Topkapi Palace is a great monument of Asian architecture which houses exhibits of art, books, jewels, plates, costumes, and the Holy Relics. The tour concludes with a visit to the city’s Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with over 4,000 shops. It was constructed in the 15th century and became the commercial hub of the trade between Asia and Europe.

Istanbul: Guided Byzantine Hippodrome Visit

7. Istanbul: Guided Byzantine Hippodrome Visit

The Hippodrome, the stadium of ancient Byzantium, held 100,000 spectators and featured objects from all corners of the empire. Of these, an Egyptian obelisk and a bronze sculpture of three entwined serpents from Delphi have survived. The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social center of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı, internationaly referred to as the Sultan Ahmet Square and located in the heart of the historical peninsula of Istanbul. The word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos, horse, and dromos, path or way. For this reason, it is sometimes also referred to as Atmeydanı (Horse Square) in Turkish. Horse racing and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world, and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine eras.

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What people are saying about Sultanahmet Square

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 24 reviews

I had the most beautiful experience in Istanbul the day i went touring with Leyla she was really kind and i had so much fun. I learned a looot about the turkish heritage she told me so many intresting stories about the byzantine and Othmane times that i really admired. She was so helpful she even recommended me some good restaurant and shops. I m thankful for my friend who recommended this tour with a private guide and i highly recommande it.

Very interesting tour and with Ayla we had an excellent guide who managed to guide us through the long waiting line. That was great and saved us hours of waiting. Ayla inspired us with her knowledge of the sights of Istanbul!

Our guide was Chitin (and apologies I am most likely spelling his name wrong). He was fantastic, knew a lot! Answered all questions and made the 5 hour tour really enjoyable in a perfect pace! Thanks very much again!

Discovering these monuments with the guide was much more interesting rather than doing it by one's self. A lots to learn. We really appreciate

Super informed guide, great tour in a pleasantly small group.